How Working with Kids Transformed My World
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Politics and Activism

How Working with Kids Transformed My World

Why we should all love like children

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How Working with Kids Transformed My World
Elise Kaminski

We live in a society that emphasizes the necessity of shallow protocol in deciding whether the people around us are worth our love. We wonder whether we're thin enough, attractive enough, wealthy enough, well dressed enough. Anyone who has worked with children, though, understands that the criteria they base their affections on is not the same as the judgments adults use.

Known for their blatant honesty, children love how others make them feel. If someone else takes their juice box, they may not like that person. But if an individual makes a child feel acknowledged and validated, the child sees that person as incredible and worth all the love in the world. Weight, status, wealth, vanity —these things have no bearing on how little or much a child loves. I would argue that loving like children is one of the most courageous things a human can do.

Somewhere along the way, we lose our ability to be vulnerable and forgiving, and I think when we surrender our awe of the world, we sacrifice our ability to truly shape the world around us. We are afraid to be open to new experiences; we text our friends if we are considering going to an event because we can't bear to rid ourselves of the safety blanket that our friends act as. We hide behind phones that, ironically, tear us apart every bit as much as they unite us. Instead of bringing the soul and originality that defines us as individuals, we blur and distort these things into the supposed "ideal." If we took a lesson from our younger counterparts, we would learn a few key things.

First of all, it is encouraged to be selfish and protect ourselves, even when others have a need. If we continue to put ourselves second, the relationship becomes all give and no take. Most 6-year-olds I know wouldn't stick around if they were no longer reaping any benefits from a relationship.

On the flip side, though, sharing is a powerful method of bonding. No matter whether you have offered wealth, time, or personal testimony, giving of yourself is a wonderful way to receive more of those around you. It brings us together and proves that we are willing to invest in our peers. In addition, let's take care to see the beauty in the small moments. When is the last time we ran in the rain just because? How often do we take in a gorgeous sunrise or sunset? Do we smile with our significant other or friends or family every day? Every day we talk about how we just need to make it to X day or time or event, but every time we do this, we are justifying the decision not to live actively.

We put the world around us in the driver's seat and agree to ride passively to our deaths. Finally, don't stop dreaming and believing and trusting and hoping and forgiving. We mistake these traits as naivety, but what we are writing off is the courage to move beyond past hurts and continue to believe in the potential of the people and culture around us. The moment we give up on the possibility of change is the moment society has won. That's when we truly become impotent pawns in this game of life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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