Just trying to change the world, one blogpost at a time.

22 June 2016

Waiting Room Kids.

Kids. Interesting creatures aren't they.
Sometimes I find myself looking at them, wondering if I was ever that small, if life was ever that easy. A couple of days ago I spent 6 hours in the A&E waiting room at my local hospital (yes I know 6 hours is insane and I was pissed at the time but this isn't a rant about the shoddy service)! There were 3 kids there, two girls and a boy, and as I watched them talk and play and everything in between, I realised that there are a few things I could learn from them. 
They were so free, blissfully so, unaffected by the world and all its problems despite spending hours in the waiting room. As we grow up, we are taught to leave our childish ways behind, but perhaps in some ways we still need to be childlike...

1) Resilience
There is nothing more resilient than a child. I have witnessed kids fall, injure themselves, fail at a particular task etc. and what happens next is truly incredible. After a few minutes of crying and whining, sometimes even a few seconds, they get right back up and try once again to conquer the very thing that led to their demise. This is a trait that we often lose as we grow up or at least don't have in the same capacity. When we fall or get hurt or fail, we spend days, weeks, sometimes even months, going around in circles, over analyzing every detail and worst of all, we are often afraid to try again. In some cases yes, we have to learn to not attempt the same things, however often we become afraid to try anything at all, concluding that whatever we try will fail so what's the point?! By channeling our inner child, and getting right back on life's bouncy castle after it knocks us off, we'll be able to get to enjoy the ride a lot faster than if we just stand in front of it crying.

2) Simple Honesty
"Your hair's really short - you look like a boy," said one of the little girls to the other. Now whilst my face was clearly stunned by the level of shade this 5 year old girl had just thrown, the other girl simply responded "I like it short," and that was that - they moved on with their lives. Whilst honesty is definitely something majority of us strive for as we grow (whether successful or not is another story), we wrap our truths around in complex words in an attempt to say what we mean without saying what we mean confusing whoever we're talking to and ourselves in the process. Kids are straight forward, they say what they want, what they like, what they don't like, regardless of anything else. As we mature we are taught to be polite, politically correct but sometimes we need to learn to bypass the bull and get to the point. Too often in relationships (platonic or otherwise), we expect people to just know us, to know how we feel and what we're thinking but if we can't figure it out then how the hell can we expect someone else to? I've definitely been guilty of it, giving someone the silent treatment or evils waiting for them to miraculously read my mind and realise what's bothering me. You know the crazy part - it almost never works!

 3) Confidence
I'm the fastest in my class, my hair's long and pretty, I'm really good at reading...
Each child listed their skills, their best qualities, what made them tick; at first I thought wow these kids are up themselves but having 6 hours to spare makes you reflect on a few things. Why is that people stating the good things about them sets off an arrogance alarm? Well I figured because that's what society has caused us to become. After 22 years of living I still battle with confidence on a daily basis; in my work, in my craft and in myself - perhaps that's not something I'm supposed to admit but through conversation I've found that I'm not alone. Why is it so much easier to answer the 'what are your weaknesses' question in an interview than the 'what are your strengths?' Why does praising ourselves leave such an unfamiliar taste in our mouths? I think there was a time were I confused humility with denial; "You look really pretty today" would be responded with "Nah I don't, I look a mess", "You're actually really smart," would lead to "No there's so many people smarter than me." It wasn't until I noticed people doing the same thing when I complimented them that I realised how stupid it was; just say thank you and move on gosh Selorm. 100% there's a difference between being conceited and being confident and finding the line between the two can be difficult but that youthful confidence is something we should all have!

4) Dream Big
When I grow up I want to be...
A hairdresser, a mechanic, a car engine designer, a mathematician, an accountant, a business woman, an author, a wife, a mother, HAPPY!
The kids in the waiting room had different goals; the boy wanted to be a pilot whilst the two girls wanted to be a teacher and a dancer respectively. When you're young its easy to dream, the world hasn't shown you it's limitations yet. You're unaware of social discrimination, lack of opportunity, financial struggle and all the other things we use as excuses as we grow older. But with each big dream a kid has, there is a an adult somewhere in their lives telling them to be realistic. It's not their fault, it's what they were taught - they too had dreams that got ruled out as impractical and ended up settling in something more 'practical'. Right now my brother's goal is to be an Olympic athlete. When he first mentioned it or became interested in athletics; my response was be practical - have a back up plan. It took me a while to see that a) he was serious and trains his butt off and b) given that I am working towards a dream that may be perhaps impractical to most, it's important to encourage my brother rather than stifle him. We are all capable; whether you want to be an astronaut or a world class artist, we all have the means within us to follow our gifts to infinite success, but what we don't have is the drive, the belief, the patience or the right environment to keep our dreams alive.
If we limit ourselves in our minds, then we have already lowered our level of potential - dream big, as big as you can, you might as well - its free!

5) Have Fun
This is perhaps the biggest thing I took from the kids; not just have fun but have fun regardless of the situation you're in. Like I said, I was in the waiting room for about 6 hours; in that time I grew tired, agitated, impatient, bored and worst of all, hungry (although it did give me the time to finish reading my book and I got to watch the England game)! But these kids, they were having the time of their lives! They turned the chairs into a bouncy castle and jumped off, the girls did each others hair, they read to each other, told jokes, chased each other and all sorts of things that made their 6 hours fun whilst mine was far from! Kids just make the most of it - they have some grasped the concept of not wasting time being miserable and maximizing the time they spend enjoying themselves. As we grow up it's definitely necessary to learn when to be serious and when to have fun and to learn the process of delaying gratification but life is for living! We are not here to be miserable beings, moaning our way through the days, unable to enjoy ourselves because the situation isn't perfect; it'll never be perfect, but there's always a way to make the most of it!

Stay Blessed,

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