This summer, I started a quest to create an informal support network for junior level women at my company — I had benefited from the same thing myself and thought it was time to pay back. Along the way I enrolled a talented group of women leaders to my cause. We met this week and as we talked the conversation blended seamlessly between work and personal topics.
Naturally we started sharing our parenting challenges — as mothers the three of us have six kids, ages 1-15. After a moment of shared angst for the teenage stage, we shared the usual ‘every age has its own challenges’ comments. And then my colleague said, “I think 7-8 is the absolute best age.” Looking at the one with the little ones she said, “Look forward to that, hold onto that.”
Immediately, we started waxing philosophical about what makes that age so great. We noted how they have gained the independence to do basic things on their own (get a bowl of cereal, dress themselves) but are still open to the possibility of life. How they love and trust and engage with the world but don’t have the limitations kids put in place later. They can do things, but they aren’t jaded.
And I said out loud (because they both subscribe to Too Much Mel), “Sounds like my next blog post — channeling your inner third grader.”
I mean, how great would that be?
- A third grader will say yes to just about anything. Want to go to this place? Want to try this sport? Want to come play? Want to read a book? Yes, yes, yes! Ok, maybe broccoli is a no, but that is a small compromise.
- A third grader will let anyone join their team. It’s pre-middle school awkwardness, so there isn’t the hard line between cool and geek, pretty or not. The bigger the pack the better. Best friend battles are common — but only until kids determine that ‘we’re all best friends!’
- A third grader has love in their heart for friends AND family AND teachers AND pets AND everything. They have no problem with the fact different groups want different things at different times. It is all good.
- A third grader may take clothes seriously, but doesn’t take other people’s clothes seriously. Every high school kid looks at pictures from third grade and says, “Why did you let me wear that??” Because you wanted to and it made you happy.
So, how much happier would we be if we channeled our inner third grader? If we said yes to fun opportunities, let everyone join, didn’t rank love and just wore what felt right? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to give it a try.
As long as we can skip multiplication tables.