Can an adult ever return to experience the innocence of a child? To a moment of wonder? Awe? Curiosity? Anxious to learn more? Fascinated by little things that are different and new?
As adults, we have already seen quite a bit. There is little that really surprises us. Our phones keep us current with continuous news from the world, our city, and our friends. Our movies, TV screens, and videos show us so many different situations there is little that we are shielded from. We are less innocent, with the help of technology, than we ever were.
We can recreate the innocence of a child beginning with our attention and presence. By listening openly without judging. Where we don’t guess at the next sentence someone might say but rather take in each word as being equal. By not jumping to conclusions that bore us. Nor forcing “new” into the not possible or important bucket but rather playing with what is new to see where things go once further along in the journey.
The innocence of a child comes from the constant stream of absorbing new things. Of not at first knowing their value. Of wondering why someone is sharing what they are. Listening for gaps, inconsistencies, and missed possibilities and then exploring further.
Where there are no opinions formed initially in what we hear. In a child’s world, all things have the same value until they don’t. As adults, we tend to assign value long before we know or understand their fit.
A child’s innocence has very little bias. No filters. And never jumps ahead. Never shutting out the new. Never pushing new aside by always giving something new their focus and attention until they figure it out.
Our habits and routines shield us from many things that could be new. It is a byproduct of becoming an adult. Seduced by things that become easy for us through repetition and familiarity.
If only we had the time and interest to stop, notice, and explore more often. We may be surprised by what we find, learn, or figure out. Twisting our life’s journey in ways we never expected but thankful with what we now understand and enjoy.