Taking care of my five-year old cousin the past two weeks, I’ve been reminded of the simplicity of a child’s mind and found myself wondering: why do we lose that as we get older when it’s such an important concept?
This thought struck me when I took him (my cousin) to the playground and a little girl showed up to play on the nice summer afternoon. He wanted to play with her, but her grandparents told me that she only spoke Gujarati, an Indian language.
Upon hearing that, my cousin leaned close to me and whispered, “So she doesn’t speak English?” I answered, “No, not everyone does. Just like you don’t know any other languages, she doesn’t, either.” Then, running towards her, he screamed, “That’s okay!”
He used hand gestures, demonstrations, and simple words to show her how he wanted to play, and she understood perfectly. For him, there was no question as to whether or not he would overcome the language barrier, it was just the how he’d do it to be able to play with her.
Through that event at the playground, and many others during the two weeks, I was amazed by how everything was a straightforward path in his mind. Why can’t we continue to think like that as we grow older? If you want to be someone’s friend, talk to them and spend time with them. If you want to teach someone something when there’s an obstacle, try explaining it different ways. If you want to do something, figure out how you’re going to solve any problems that may arise and do it. For little kids, it’s that simple.
When we grow up and begin to experience life, we begin creating problems in our mind and letting obstacles discourage us from doing what we want. What about this problem? What if that awful thing happens? What if they don’t like me? We let ourselves become disheartened by what-ifs and then we give up.
While it’s necessary to be aware of potential problems, we have to keep that childlike part of us that says “I can solve problems and I’m going to do this.” We have to stop over-complicating things and start doing. It’s a disservice to yourself to say “it’s not that simple” and give up when, in reality, it just might be.