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Young at heart? …and head!

Children. Some of you may have your own. Some of you may not. Regardless of that, we all were children once though, and that is something I think we forget far too easily and far too often.

On the positive side, we can learn a huge amount from children. For instance, I have always been impressed by their ability to not only display their emotions so readily, but to change them in a moment too. My daughter can be in the middle of a dramatic, hysterical melt-down one moment, and yet be giggling and skipping again before I could even finish typing this sentence. Now that is what I call a mood swing!

In addition to that, children are eager to know, to understand and to try things. Their constant questions, explorations and experiments are often revealing and insightful…if not usually convenient!

And their energy…what could we achieve if we only had a fraction of it!

But they need it all. The speed at which they develop requires them to assimilate vast volumes of information in relatively short periods of time – information about their environment which is vital to their very survival. Just think about the drive a baby has to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand and eventually walk. How many of us today, if put inside the body of a baby, would put in THAT much effort, get up that many times, consistently, for long enough to pull off such a transition? Would you?

So here is a thought. Why not let children do more, take responsibility for more, determine more? In fact how would you feel if I asked you to let a child organise and run your life for you? Anxious? Nervous? Terrified? OK then, what age of child WOULD you let make key decisions for you? Three? Seven? Twelve? Sixteen? Still not keen…?

Well, I’ve got some bad news for you then. Most of us are doing just this. Most of us are letting our lives be shaped, determined and dictated by a child. I am not talking about any children you may have of your own. No. I am talking about the child within you. The child you were.

From a very young age our personalities become established, our preferences become embedded and our future becomes narrowed. It takes an exceptionally strong and determined person to change these foundations, or an exceptional set of circumstances.

Regardless of the nature vs nurture debate, most research agrees that the vast majority of your personality is shaped and complete by the time you are 16. Yes, 16. The 16 year old you decides, for example, what you are capable of, what you need, how you should behave and how other people see you.

So, now how do you feel about handing the reins of your life over to a 16 year old? Remember, most of us do it every…single…day.

Still scared?