What We Should All Learn from Children

Stop Playing, Grow Old

Point to Ponder:
Do you play enough?

Action Item:
Determine the things that make you feel most alive and start playing.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

There really isn’t a better time than the 4th of July to be reminded of what it means to be free and to live in the land of opportunity! Freedom has always been a critical element in how I choose to live my life. In fact, after working through a core values exercise, I actually thought freedom was one of my five core values. Turns out it’s not, but it’s part of my strategy to getting to several of my core values, which is likely why I felt claustrophobic, in conflict and restless during my pre-iGnite professional life. Looking back, my spirit was trapped and I needed to be set free so I could live in full self expression. Sure enough, iGnite was and is a snapshot of my spirit and how I interpret freedom and happiness.

I think we can all agree that the best example of freedom is children. Even before having children of my own, I worked with children and was always inspired by their effortless ability to play. It was actually when working with them that I recognized the importance of play and the organic spirit-lifting effect it has on people.

I get it — of course we can’t play all of the time, and I do agree that there is a time for work and play, however, we must make time to play. Play looks different for everyone, and research has found that when we play we are healthier, happier and live longer.

A great example is 81 year old Stuart Brown who is a tennis-playing and cross-country skiing psychiatrist who offices in his tree house in Carmel Valley, California (sounds pretty fantastic!). Stuart is a play-advocate and author of a book titled Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul. He warns, “a life without play is a life of rigidity, lacking in creativity, joy and sustained pleasure.” He also references a woman who lives a “turbocharged” life, taking care of her family and her job as the CEO of a real estate company. Up at 5 a.m., she ran 4 or 5 miles on odd days and swam and lifted weights on even days. She started to dread life. She set out to find a solution and remembered some of her fondest memories as a child involved horses. Now, she rides one day a week and is happier and more productive.

On the heels of the 4th of July, I encourage you think more like a child, be free and play more, which of course means being fearless to try new things, too!  Much like dancing, singing and doing more of what you love, you will thrive and your spirit will have the same effect on the people you interact with as does in the “joy bomb” that takes place in the video below.

 

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2 thoughts on “What We Should All Learn from Children

  1. Pingback: Entering a Gossip-Free Month | the iGnite blog

  2. Pingback: Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective | the iGnite blog

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