With Youth, Comes Wisdom

By Archana Venugopal

I’ve always known that kids are smarter than they seem. From my experience with kids — whether it was taking care of my family members’ babies, watching friends’ siblings grow up, or tutoring children at my job — it was always easy to see that they had some hidden knowledge about the world. They view everything in such a simple light and yet find answers to questions that boggle adults for a lifetime. Here are some extremely important (although seemingly simple) lessons that the kids I’ve encountered have taught me:
Love learning:
So many of us college students take our education for granted — we skip lectures, sleep in class, text or zone out. We’ve lost that internal curiosity about life that all children have. Instead we march on to our classes and dread the amount of times we’re “forced” to spend in there. Seeing the curiosity of so many children that want to learn more about volcanoes or dinosaurs or how sand turns into glass makes me realize that learning is something to be valued. Somewhere along the way, we forget that we shouldn’t just be studying to pass that one test or to get straight As.
We should find some topic we love to learn. And sure, some classes may be more difficult to enjoy than others, but if people put effort into wanting to know more about their worst subject, it’s surprising how much they can enjoy, and maybe even love it. Always remember, learn for the sake of learning.
Be a little silly:
Kids are always goofy, and we think they can get away with it because they’re cute. Yet, even as we start to become adults, we’ve always enjoyed the company of that one outgoing, cheery, spirited person who’s never afraid to look stupid. And instead of joining them, many of us simply look on with envy of their confidence.
Well, most kids are never embarrassed about singing off-pitch or dancing in public because they simply don’t care, not because they’re confident. People worry so much about how other people might judge them that they don’t let themselves enjoy something that they usually might.
One day, just observe how children say the first thought that pops into their mind and get their clothes dirty and eat like there’s no tomorrow. That kind of carefree lifestyle doesn’t need to be left behind with our once-treasured toys and Saturday morning cartoon schedule. Stop caring what people say, laugh at your mistakes and just live it up!
Dream a little, dream a lot:
Whenever a child is asked about what they want to be or do in life, adults always laugh off their answers if they don’t name something that’s considered attainable. Even worse, they’re told that they’ll surely change their mind when they get older. So when one of the kids I teach listed off five different careers that he would balance out when he’s older, I told him that he could do all of it if he wanted.
As we grow up, we discourage ourselves by categorizing our dreams into realistic and childish. We set aside the karate lessons we’ve always wanted to take so that we can focus on schoolwork that will land us a suitable career. We ignore our passion for art because we want to build up our resume. We talk about having a secret dream to ride a fire truck and then push it aside as a silly idea.
Why not go for what we want? Sure, it may be difficult to do everything you’ve dreamt of as a kid, but stop pretending that they’re impossible to achieve. Bring out your inner child and let your imagination soar, forgetting any obstacles meanwhile. Yes, we growing adults have responsibilities, limits and consequences, but we can’t let that stop us from trying to dream. We won’t know what we can do or want to do until we believe in ourselves. So take a hint from every kid you meet and learn to pursue your dreams, childish or not.
There’s so much to learn from children, and it takes time to really understand what they see in the world that adults don’t. Sometimes, it’s just less about the details and more about the big picture, which is about enjoying your life in whatever way you can.