I love the excitement that is kids. No matter what it is they’re doing, they do it with fervor, with gusto, with a love for learning and ideas that puts many adults to shame. Why is it that when most of us hit those awkward teenage years, our love for life gets swallowed up for a while in the midst of hormones and identity crises? And then it seems to hit all over again at midlife? Kids can teach us a thing or two.
Ask anyone…I’m not great with kids. If I had to work with them, I would trade them in for adults in a New York minute. However, being the observer, they are fascinating. I ran the lock and dam exhibit at our Bring Your Kids to Work Day today. I was working with a couple of Captains, who love passing their river knowledge on to others. Together, we all got a message across to the kids.
The groups were all divided by age groups. For sure, I liked best the age that was 11-ish. They were grown up enough not to be chaotic, and young enough to not yet know how to hide their excitement. They asked intelligent questions, and were happy to volunteer when we needed them to. They younger kids just wanted to run around, and the older kids were already forming those masks that hide their hormones. Of course, all groups had exceptions, but this was the average group dynamics.
As the kids moved from station-to-station, we would repeat our message, and so the day passed quickly. As we finished with each group, I went over to help the Captain who was teaching knot-tying. I learned 3 or 4 new knot tricks, and then helped the kids learn how to do them. It was hard to get some of those kids away from the knot-tying station, and that excitement was incredible to witness. You know the kind. When they keep wanting to practice and practice, even though the rest of their group has wandered on to the next exhibit. And even the ones with little expression throughout the day, when given a chance to speak into a mic and talk about the best parts of the day, were able to tell the group at large what they enjoyed most.
It was well worth the time spent, and I came back tired but enthusiastic to practice my knot-tying.
DAY 195 HOMEWORK: Learn from the kids around you. Catch their wonder. Be excited about the new things you’re learning. Take off the masks and live.