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How children taught me to solve problems

by , 28th Aug 2019

There are many quotes by numerous educators, psychologists, and writers, about children, which I apply in everyday life and which I often like to point out. In time, one quote by Dostoyevsky became especially important to me – The soul is healed by being with children.

We all have crises, daily, weekly, monthly, lifetime – we reach various crossroads, roundabouts, stairs of life at which, or after which we should make some important decisions. Each person deals with these identity or momentary crises in their own way, but we are all indisputably in a bad mood, latently or manifestly, and most of the time we prefer to be alone.

I often hear parents and non-parents say: “I don’t like when a child sees me like this… I’m feeling down”. I always chose the opposite.

In the moments when I was no good company for anyone, I was the best company for children.

Hence my need to share this with you all.

I have recently realized that I made all my decision in the presence of children. Out of all the educators, from kindergarten to university, my best mentors and teachers were the children I was surrounded with every day. I believe that their simplicity and clarity of thought subconsciously impacted me and made me look at my problems in an easier and more straightforward manner.

For me, everything is always easy when I’m with children. When a child cries, you know why they are crying, as soon as they start speaking, they say what hurts them and we resolve that. If a child laughs, you know what made them laugh, and if you keep doing it, they will only laugh louder and more. When a child wants something – they take it. When they don’t want something – they leave it.

And what about us, is this always the case with us, too?

Children start complicating their way of thinking through a process that goes from the outside inward. Adults teach them to complicate things and when to hold back tears, and when to laugh less loudly, and to think if they want something or not.

Children know exactly what they are doing, and why they are doing it, unlike us.

So whenever I cannot bear myself, and when I’m in a bad mood, I mostly spent time with children and I learned how to behave in order to solve any problem. The most important lessons I’ve learned: to say what I mean, loud and clear, and to follow my heart and my instinct.

My Milica (the little girl from my previous texts), who likes to hang out with my friends and me, was quicker to solve a certain life problem than several adults put together. What stuck with me the most are two short dialogues.

A friend of mine scolded me in front of her for some of the things I had done, saying: “Kristina, you can’t run your head through the wall all the time!” As a true “cooperating witness”, as I call her, and a member of my “first line of defense”, Milica chimed in from the corner, where she was assembling her puzzle, and said: “Stop yelling at her, of course, she can. She just takes a hammer, breaks the wall, and goes through.”

tell your first next problem, big or small, whatever it may be, to a child (4-7 years), but in the same way, you would tell it to an adult and you know what? You will be surprised by their solution.

Tell your first next problem, big or small, whatever it may be, to a child (4-7 years), but in the same way, you would tell it to an adult and you know what? You will be surprised by their solution.

All of us “grown-ups” run our heads through this wall sometimes. None of us even thought of “the hammer”, let alone used it.

Next time, she overheard us talking and to my remark: “But if I say it, it will hurt her”, she responded with: “But that’s not your problem because it’s true”.

The whole wisdom of children lies in simplicity and honesty.

I was accused that “I am running to children”, that I am wasting my time with them instead of doing something “for myself”, facing and fighting my momentary mood like an adult, but I never bothered responding to such accusations.

I am not running to children, I am moving towards a solution.

My “me time” was always best spent when a child was with me. I enjoy taking the children I’m surrounded with anywhere I go, no matter who I’m with at the moment, even though some say I’m “dragging them along, and they’re not even mine.” Do you know how much easier it is in moments when you don’t know what to do with yourself, to be with someone who knows exactly who they are, what they are where they are, where they are going and they have not a single prejudice?

I recommend you try it, too. After a bad day at work, in love, in life, go for a walk with a child. And yes, tell your first next problem, big or small, whatever it may be, to a child (4-7 years), but in the same way, you would tell it to an adult and you know what? You will be surprised by their solution.

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