Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful. – Kailash Satyarthi
A Little Boy In Vietnam
It was a sunny afternoon and I was sat in a park in Vietnam writing my journal when I was momentarily distracted by a young child playing in a sand pit.
The little boy was finding so much joy in building simple sand castles. He was laughing so much, completely absorbed in the moment, and oblivious to everything else that was going on around him.
I was blown away by how happy the child was. It was beautiful to witness and this image stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
Later that evening, I got home and typed in to the internet. “How much does a child laugh each day?”
I was astonished by the results. Not only does the average 4-6 year old laugh between 300-400 times a day, but I also discovered that the average 40 year old adult only manages to squeeze out a pathetic 15-20 laughs per day.
This blew my mind, and questions started racing through my head:
What is going on here?
Why aren’t adults laughing as much as children?
What is happening between childhood and adulthood?
I thought about these questions a lot and I came to the conclusion that society is playing a big impact, and I want to spend the rest of the article exploring my perspective on the issue, and what we can learn from children.
The Adult Power Game
We live in a society which teaches us to live a certain way.
From a young age we are conditioned to conform and play the adult power game:
Follow the rules and don’t question authority.
Abide by the curriculum, get good grades and go to university.
Get a job and fit into society.
Live to work. Work for retirement.
Compete and accumulate as much as possible in the process.
Keep on racing to that end goal of happiness.
Shit on others to reach the top.
Congratulations, you’ve arrived and now you set to live your life and be happy.
Retire with stress and ill health.
Try to enjoy travelling for the last 3 years of your life.
Die rich and miserable.
The major problem is that we are taught the adult power game before we are old enough to resist and think for ourselves.
If we don’t play the adult power game and rebel, we’re labelled as an outcast.
Like a one size fits all pair of gloves, we’re taught to believe that this is the route we need to take in life.
But what if that route isn’t right? what if the adult power game isn’t for you?
That’s a totally plausible scenario.
What if you decided to reject the adult power game and looked on the other side of the coin from the point of a child?
Maybe, just maybe, they hold the real secret to life and there’s no need to play the adult power game at all?
Becoming Wise Means Becoming a Child Again
We can learn a lot from children. The problem is we don’t want to.
We’re older, wiser, more experienced and think we know what life is.
But we don’t.
Adults run around thinking there is something important to achieve, whereas a child just plays, and knows that being alive is the most important thing.
That’s because children hold the real secret to life.
They laugh. They smile. They don’t judge. They have no purpose. They find beauty in the seemingly unimportant things. They are close to the origins of life.
It is from the point of the child that we see and experience the world without judgement or prejudice.
Children really do remind us what is important in life and it’s crucial to reconnect with our child like selves, by thinking back to what you used to do when you were young:
•How did you spend your day?
•Who were you with?
•What did you like doing?
•What kind of ideas came into your head?
Answers to these questions are crucial because real wisdom comes from seeing past the adult power game and learning how to become a child again.
It’s a plausible narrative that wisdom comes with age, but observing a child teaches us that wisdom flows from from below up, not above down.
We can learn a lot from the younger generation, if we’re willing to drop our ego and let go of thinking we know better.
Children are born with the real secret of life, and that is to appreciate beauty in the seemingly insignificant and experience life exactly how it is given to them without any expectations or prejudice.
Thanks for reading and all the best,
Dan Beaumont, Thursday 11th February 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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