For most of the day, I’d been struggling to finish a project online. Initially, an unexpected guest distracted me. Then, a friend needed a favor. And, of course, my house was dirty. Finally, after the dust cleared and I was ready to get going on the project again, the electricity went out. To say the least, I was upset.
As I sat in regret, frustrated over the situation, one of the kids in my neighborhood (Henry) came over. He was smiling and jumping around, unaffected by the looming darkness. My seven-year-old pal didn’t care about the power outage and in that moment I realized I shouldn’t either.
As with most of the young acquaintances I knew, Henry didn’t allow life’s inconveniences to derail his mood. This lesson is one of many they taught me; through their behavior I was reminded of several truths that age often makes people forget.
What the kids in my neighborhood taught me:
- Laugh at yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. You are human. You will mess up. Being able to brush things off and move forward is key to enjoying life.
- Make everything fun. Fun eases stress. So, sing to your favorite tune while sitting in rush hour traffic; dance as you sweep the kitchen floor; and, watch a movie while paying bills. Find a way to infuse fun into all of your activities making the difficult ones less pleasant.
- Never break a promise. If you can’t do something, just say so. Otherwise, your friends won’t trust you and rightfully so. Only liars and selfish people take their promises lightly.
- Givers are people-magnets. The best way to attract others is to give. Don’t wait for an invitation. Offer a co-worker half of your sandwich. Pay someones bus fare. Help a neighbor clean out his or her addict. Small acts like these make big impressions and draw people to you.
- Always be flexible. Schedules, routines, agendas – they rarely go off without a glitch. For this reason, always be open to change. Don’t let a switch in your plans ruin your overall disposition.
In conclusion, the above is the short list of what the kids in my neighborhood taught me. I didn’t think I could learn anything from them, but age is only a number to people who are open.
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