If you know where to look, children can teach us a lot about happiness. Here are 13 ways based on an article by Melissa Sher, blogger, mammalingo.com.
1. They make friends fast. No one is a stranger to my son. Wherever we are he says hello and automatically makes the “stranger” his friend. In the play area of Chick-fil-A he welcomes new children with “Hello, I’m Jonah do you want to be my friend?” I’ve never seen a response other than a resounding “YES!”
2. They don’t hold grudges. When it’s over, it’s over. They don’t gossip about what happened and they aren’t mad for days.
3. They’re curious – about everything. “Why?” is Jonah’s favorite word and he’s not asking to be a wise guy, he is really curious. “Why is the moon out only at night?” We would all be better off by being more curious and less judgmental. Life is so much more interesting and wondrous that way.
4. They’re confident. “Look how high I can jump!” “Look how strong I am!” They never question how wonderful and capable they are. As Melissa says and I agree, we start out filled with confidence and then ever so slowly it leaks out like helium from a balloon. Search for ways to regain your confidence. Take note of your strengths and celebrate them!
5. They play – no matter where they are they make play a priority and not just to check it off the list or put it on a resume. They take their play seriously, enjoying it wherever they are.
6. They’re not afraid to show their feelings – the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly can lead mom or dad to make lame excuses like “he hasn’t eaten today” or “she missed her nap.” But children let it out without concern about what anyone else thinks. How can you let your feelings out? Hopefully not with temper tantrums (although those won’t hurt anyone in the privacy of your own car) but finding a way to let them out will make you a happier person.
7. They don’t mind getting dirty. I love watching my kids eat ice cream. They are always wearing it afterwards and they are smiling ear to ear. Exploring in the dirt or sand? Always fun just like finger painting (with their whole body).
8. They’re uninhibited. They have no problem going to the market in rain boots, shorts and a fireman hat if that brings them joy or belting out a song in the aisles. They don’t worry what others think about them, they follow their hearts. How can you forget about what others think and follow your bliss?
9. They don’t care about price tags. Whether it’s a designer outfit or a Target special, if Jonah loves a shirt, he loves it. He doesn’t care what it costs and he doesn’t care what labels his friends are wearing either.
10. They’re cheap dates too. Sure, Jonah enjoyed the primo seats at a Coldplay concert but he is just as happy going for a scoop of ice cream or spending hours at the park. His imagination takes him on great adventures without leaving the house!
11. They’re funny – very funny! Their laughs are contagious. Just try and keep from smiling when a child (or baby) is laughing. They love to laugh at their own jokes and they may not even make it to the punch line since they laugh from beginning to end.
12. They see the best in people. Cynicism does not exist in preschool. They may be gullible but they love with ease and enjoy the company of people from all walks of life.
13. They’re honest – when they tell you that you are the most beautiful mommy in the world, they really mean it.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn about happiness from a child. Why not take this fall/winter and start putting some of their lessons into action. Let me know how you do at it and how much happiness it brings you.