I Haven’t Grown Up – Have You?
We all get older but we’re children till we die.
When my wife flirts with me, sarcastically I say, “Grow up!” But maybe we shouldn’t grow up. Perhaps we haven’t.
Embrace your inner child before it’s too late. (Especially if you’re a leader.)
Some differences are good.
I don’t throw myself on the floor like I did when I was two. I’ve also come to realize the world doesn’t revolve around me.
Getting in touch with your inner child isn’t embracing immaturity.
Practice self-control, self-awareness, and responsibility for yourself and those you lead. But what happens if you remember you’re still a kid inside and the people on your team are too?
Perhaps you need a reminder of things kids love.
25 things kids love a lot:
- Undivided attention.
- Their world.
- Creative pursuits.
- Dance parties.
- Best friends.
- You notice things about them.
- A predictable schedule.
- Photos and stories.
- Playing outside.
- Not be in a rush.
- Grandma and grandpa time.
- Showing interest.
- Their artwork.
- Regular one-on-one time.
- Hearing “I Love You.”
- A healthy environment.
Exclusions and clarifications:
I love everything kids love, with a few modifications.
Dance parties are out! (#4) An occasional sway with my wife is all I can manage. The ballroom dance lessons were fun but didn’t work.
I don’t need approval like I did when I was five, but I enjoy it. (#8)
Cooking (#13) is good if it’s meat on a grill. Anything with fire makes me light up. I feel like a man if I cook a perfect steak on the grill. I don’t like cooking cupcakes with sprinkles. Does that seem childish? Good!
Grandpa and grandma time isn’t possible but I love spending time with wise people who accept me. (#16)
What’s on the list of things that children love that you want nothing to do with?
How would you speak to team members if you imagined they were five-years old? (Tomorrow’s post.)
This post came to mind when my wife opened the door and cheered for me while I was running the snow blower. (#17, #20, #23) Do you think less of me that I enjoyed it?
I hear from “eight year old Ken” from time to time and I love it when he stops by…
Several years ago as I started a very high visibility negotiation with a large customer, 8YO Ken popped to ask, “how did you get here? ..we just got off our Schwinn..”
And my second daughter Heather -a red head, is named after my childhood babysitter, also a red head.
I enjoy 8YO Ken, I’m so grateful he’s there and speakes up. He’s as much a part of the balance as McKinsey.
Thanks Ken. There is genuine curiosity in our 8-yr-old selves. I have wondered why groups of adults don’t ask more questions. Maybe they’re too grown up.
Dan–I like all the items on your list.
My grandsons keep me in touch with my inner child.
-Create new rules for games
-Adventure out and try it
-Ask lots of questions
-Play games and have fun
-Take time for snacks
Thanks Paul. YES! The grandchildren sure help. I’ve been thinking alot about our 5-yr-old. I could learn how to be present from her.
I also think there is more gentleness and exploration in me when I’m with the young ones. I could use that when I’m with the grownups.
Just preached on this text yesterday:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4 ESV).
Humility. That’s the key.
Thanks Peter. I hadn’t thought about humility in this context but is sure seems like a great advantage of getting in touch with our inner child.
Pete, love this perspective, I had not seen this scripture, in this way.
Hey Dan, I think you have stepped over into “how to have a great relationship” territory. But after all, that makes great leaders too. Love this article!
Absolutely LOVED this post Dan!
Getting in touch with your inner child helps in understanding the things we REALLY need and perhaps missed in childhood and continues to cause trouble.
Children aren’t afraid of being judged and hence make themselves vulnerable and get all the help they need.
Thank you Dan! Yes, my comment is a tad away from the context of the post. 🙂
I like how you think Dan, we never actually grow up, just mature in small steps. The learning curve of questions has a balance to keep us in check. How fruitful the quest should we not speak? Alas intuitive child let them speak and chime when they so desire, for the challenges of life await them should they so be blessed.
When my daughter (now 20) was 2, she figured out how to open the doors at the day care even though they had child-proof covers over the knobs. They moved her up to the 3YO room on the spot, before she could teach the other 2YOs the same trick and lead a mass escape to the playground. So I would add initiative to that list: children just want to DO, not talk about it in endless meetings.
“Think anything is possible.”
Spring boarding off #3 & 18, and the comments from Paul, Khawaja, and Jennifer, I would add the child-like approach to find a way to make whatever can be imagined. A blanket between chairs is a fort. Everything seems possible.
I saw a sign in a craft store that read “I have decided that I no longer want to be an adult. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, coloring.” I can make my blanket fort king-sized if anyone wants to join me.
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