Last week I wrote about five childish things that I gave up when I became an adult. Then I thought about all of the awesome things I did as a kid, like sticking rice up my nose to see how much would fit. In truth, adults don’t do everything great either. We suck at having a good time. Here are five childish things that I never ever want to give up.
1. Asking stupid questions: There’s an inverse correlation with age and tolerance for stupid questions. Younger children can ask the dumbest questions and people will think it’s adorable. For example, a kid in a grocery store who looked at me and then asked his mom, “Where is he from?” Everyone in line was like “Awwwww.” It was a stupid question. “I’m from California kid! Stop being racist…and so damn adorable.”
Most adults have aged out of this phase. We’ve lost the audacity to ask stupid questions, which is unfortunate because stupid questions challenge us to think creatively and critically about our world. That’s why I make it a point to ask at least one stupid question a day: “Will my parents still love me if I don’t become a dentist?” (answer pending).
2. An unwavering belief that play is a human right: Children have a unique gift to make a game out of everything, providing a source of unending laughter and happiness. I try to model my own adult life after this. At work, I make a game out of how many emails I can reply to before my co-workers, and “Who Left the Dishes in the Sink?” (a mystery-detective game that tests your sense of smell). Children who live in vulnerable conditions experience so many barriers and obstacles to success and happiness, yet their resiliency and natural desire to make the best out of any situation should be nurtured and encouraged.
3. Peer pressure: Most people associate peer pressure with negative things, like bullying or drugs. I’ve certainly been on the losing end of peer pressure—on a dare I tried to break a board in half with my head.
But peer pressure can be a really positive thing too. Children who effectively master this skill actually display a lot of leadership and creativity. Adults should be no different. Having the courage to motivate and mobilize people for social good is an amazing skill to have. Combined with empathy, peer pressure can move people to support a charitable cause, help a stranger, or read my Asian blog.
Fun fact! When a person of power (e.g., White, men, carnivores, etc) exercises peer pressure, it’s actually called “privilege.”
4. Asking strangers to be your friend: It was easy to make friends in the neighborhood where I grew up. If you saw a kid you didn’t know, you could walk over to them, say “Hi,” and become friends for life—or until one of you moved away. Easy. Peezy.
Adults have made connecting with people difficult by using Facebook and LinkedIn to pre-screen prospective friends. We’ve mixed up being connected with genuine connection. When I ask people if they want to go out for happy hour, I get a lame, generic, Seattle response that usually goes, “I dunno, let me get back to you.” And they never do.
Just because you might not know someone for the rest of your life, doesn’t mean you should prevent people from entering your life in the first place. We should all take out this page from the kid-playbook and aspire to make new friends—especially Asian friends, we are fascinating.
5. Fall asleep anywhere, anytime: I remember when school had nap time. Now the thought of napping during the day makes people feel guilty, especially if they are at work. Rubbish! There’s something wrong when you can’t make it through the day without coffee and caffeine. I’d love to be a kid again and fall asleep anywhere (especially while riding shotgun) just because I’m tired. What other reason do you need? Tuesdays should be “Bring your cot to work day” and we should all enjoy a little slumber while dreaming about how awesome our childhoods were.
How about you? What are some childhood things your refuse to ever grow out of?