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A childlike way of life

December 8th, 2011

One of the most interesting aspects about life is the innocence of being a child. Children don’t worry about who is watching them sing and dance; they simply do so as their little hearts desire.

I noticed this when I was babysitting this past weekend. I babysat three girls, all under the age of eight. The youngest girl, who just had her fourth birthday, spent hours singing to me and showing me her best dance moves.

She belted out her best version of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and danced until her legs grew tired. The rest of her songs were a mix of Christmas tunes combined with her own personal lyrics that made absolutely no sense.

While I was watching her sing and dance as she pleased, I couldn’t help but smile. Interestingly enough, I found myself envying her imagination and complete disregard for what her sisters thought about her silliness.

At what age did we begin to feel embarrassed and self-conscious about what other people think of us? Why can’t we sing like nobody is listening and dance like nobody is watching?

Though I try to convince myself I don’t care what anybody thinks of me, to some degree, I am fooling myself. The desire for acceptance tends to get in the way of me not caring about how others view me. I think we all want others to like us, and this makes it easy to be a bit insecure.

Self-consciousness keeps us fighting the battle to control our self-image. But the truth of the matter is, we shouldn’t worry about what other people think of us and the choices we make, because the majority of the time others are too busy obsessing over their own choices to remember ours.

I wish I had the courage and confidence to sing and dance whenever I want without worrying if people would judge me. It’s amazing to me that children are unaffected by this insecurity.

Another aspect I envy about children is how they don’t notice the physical differences between people. Children don’t even seem to notice if another person is of a different race, ethnicity or has a disability of some sort.

My mom always tells me a story about how I was like this as a child. When I was a young, I was playing on a playground at the Indians game and I made a friend who was in a wheelchair and had a tracheotomy. When I was telling my mom all about my new friend, I didn’t mention her physical disabilities even once. I didn’t even notice that she was so different from me. I didn’t even notice her physical handicaps.

I wish as we grew up we didn’t realize the differences between people in this way. I wish we didn’t care about peoples’ differences. I wish we chose our friends solely based on if that particular relationship makes us feel happy.

Too many times I fear we choose our friends with a self-conscious motivation – based on how that relationship will be viewed by others around us.

After watching this little girl’s stellar performance, I am deciding to live by her example. I don’t want to worry about what others think. If I want to dance, I’m going to dance. If I want to sing, I am going to sing even if I don’t have the best voice or even if I don’t know all of the right words. I will be silly when I feel like acting silly.

This childlike way of life is intriguing to me. It’s innocent, naïve and guiltless. But with the complicated world we live in nowadays, maybe it’s not so bad to be innocent, naïve and guiltless once in a while.