To call someone childish is an insult; to call them child-like, however, is complimentary. Like everyone else, I wanted to race through my childhood at breakneck speed until I could do anything I wanted. For all intents and purposes, I am there right now and find myself desiring the lifestyle of my kid-self. There is a lot of value in approaching certain aspects of life in a child-like manner, and more of us could stand to do so.
A child see’s the world as a big playground. Think about it, the sole pre-occupation for kids prior to adolescence is having fun. It didn’t matter whether that was in school, on the street with neighbours, or at the house of one of your parent’s friends. The senses were trained to identify ways of deriving enjoyment. Compare this to the mindset of a normal adult, whose minds are pre-occupied with a whole of host of responsibilities and expectations.
It couldn’t be more night and day. I am not advocating that one drop their responsibilities, only that the child-mind should be offered more real estate in the decision-making complex. Conventional wisdom says to find value in the process, the day-to-day, the mundane and to live independently of outcomes. This means that living is experienced when taking a walk, cooking a meal, or driving to the supermarket, in contrast to buying a big house. A child’s mind is perfect for this.
Imagination is the name of the game. A simple stroll around the neighbourhood can turn into bird-spotting; cooking dinner is a tangible action associated with upgrading your life points in a delicious way; driving to the supermarket might as well be navigating to a whole other world. As much as people deny it, going through school institutionalises kids into people ready and able to serve as productive members of society. I have nothing against that. My only concern from this process is how devastated one’s capacity for imagination becomes. But alas, that is why we need our child mind more than ever, to combat against the attrition our imagination has suffered through.