Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What Children Can Teach Us About Change

Change can be particularly difficult for us as adults.  Here are some things that we can learn from children that can help us get through some difficult times.

Persistence: Have you ever seen a child at a task that seems impossible?  If you have, you've probably also seen her achieve the task due to pure persistence.  Now, how often have you seen us as adults give up before we even have begun?  

Compassion For Others:  Knowing others enables us to know ourselves.  As children, we learn compassion for others, and this helps us to play collaboratively. We learn to understand how we would feel and react in certain situations from learning from others.  The resilient child intuitively knows that compassion helps us form bonds that will propel us forward even in times of great change.

Sense Of Humor: Children have fun.  They fall down, laugh and get back up again.   We adults, on the other hand, complain about how life is so hard.  We often don't get back up .  It is as if it is easier to complain about the hard knocks of life than to enjoy what we do.  Humor often puts the magnitude of change in perspective.  This laughter helps us all to rise above and bounce back with a new energy.  

Strong Ethics: Children learn right from wrong and apply this to different settings.  This conviction can be very marked and allows children to bounce back from many situations. The baggage we carry distracts us from our goals and make us less resilient in our outlook.  

Get Attention In Positive Ways:  We all like praise.  Children especially like reinforcement, and they often seek out positive and negative ways to get this attention.  The positive actions usually create the change they desire.  

Positive Outlook On Life:  A positive outlook on life is a hallmark of resilient individuals.  It is not what happens to us but our response to it that predicts our emotional health.  Children learn to be more resilient by becoming more optimistic in response to difficulty.  Children as a rule start life with an optimistic perspective.  Resilient children and adults keep this outlook in later life, and it enables them to take on life's challenges directly.  

Effort Can Change Things: Children know that they can effect change in their environment no matter what size they are.  If you need evidence, just think of a crying child who stops crying when he gets what he wants!  As adults, many of us act as if we have no control.  However, as the Dalai Lama said, "if you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."  You'll soon realize that size doesn’t matter.  

Plan Ahead:  Children can be ingenious in breaking situations down into manageable pieces and then planning and coordinating action.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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