When I started writing down my thoughts on this topic, it was mid-January and the ground outside was covered with snow.  Yes, I know it is officially winter.  And I have nothing against snow.  When I was a child, I loved winter and especially loved when it snowed.  Building forts and snow people, going to the nearest hill and sledding…a lot of fun memories.

Now, as an adult who has had to deal with getting up in the wee hours to drive to work in icy conditions, contending with crazy drivers who don’t seem to know what “drive carefully” and “slow down” mean – not so many fun thoughts about winter.

This reminiscing – and comparing – got me thinking.

We’ve probably all seen the posters with the quote from George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Does this mean we should all rush out and make snow angels?  Well, that actually sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it?  Especially if there’s a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows) waiting when we come back inside!

As adults, we have adult responsibilities.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little break from all that work and have some fun.  It’s important to not lose our childlike sense of life.

Children seem to be naturally curious and able to play without a worry.  Just watch them for a while.  Think about it.

They:

  • Live in the present moment
  • Aren’t concerned about money or productivity, or looking/being cool
  • Have no limits to their imagination, except what they’ve been exposed to
  • Can lose themselves in play
  • Create their own games and toys (sometimes from almost nothing)
  • Are always curious, and ask lots of questions

I think we may lose some of those qualities as adults because of societal norms and systems that continually stress that we need to be more productive, more structured, more serious, more rigid.  This is unfortunate.

Of course, we can’t just abandon all responsibilities…but I believe we can learn a lot from children and maybe strive to be a little more like them in some ways.

Who’s with me?

Jo Haberstok is a communications and marketing consultant, technical writer and editor, and a quality champion.  Currently Chair of the Columbia Basin ASQ (American Society for Quality), she has served as a judge for ASQ’s International Team Excellence Awards program and as an examiner for the Washington State Quality Awards program.  She has presented educational and poster sessions at several national conferences, and her articles on teamwork, training and recognition have been published in the Journal for Quality and Participation, AQP Report and business newsletters.

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