Growing up is hard work. No one ever said it would be easy. One of the things that makes it so hard is that we spend the first part of our lives getting used to things that we have to grow out of and leave behind forever. I am reminded of the passage about acting and thinking like a child when you are a child, but putting away childish things when you grow up. Its a lot easier said than done.
When should you stop enjoying cartoons? The creators of shows like The Simpsons would say, never. When should you stop eating cereal with pictures of talking animals on the box? When should you stop wearing pajamas emblazoned with pictures of your favorite superheroes?
Further complicating the matter is that not everything from childhood is something to be dismissed. We are given childhood lessons that should carry through to the rest of our lives. Determining which lessons to hang on to is not a simple matter. We all want to live long, healthy, and ultimately fulfilling lives. To do that, here are some of the lessons from childhood to which we should return and retain:
Don’t Eat Poison
Very few people purposely eat rat poison. Perhaps the reason why is that we were taught as children to avoid such things. They were not held up as a privilege of maturity. No one is thinking that they will finally get to eat rat poison when they turn 18.
Yet when it comes to things like smoking, we see them as temporary restrictions lifted when we come of age. It is a problem with messaging. Smoking is not restricted because of age. It is restricted because it is an addictive poison that can kill you at any age. The consequences of eating poison are the same no matter how old you are.
The experts at any women’s recovery center can attest to the fact that messaging as a child can have a profound effect on how you view recreational drugs as an adult. Don’t eat poison because you are a kid is the wrong message. Don’t eat poison because it is a life-draining menace is the lesson we should retain. Eliminating poisons from your life can greatly improve it.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One thing you have as a kid but lose when growing up is a proper bedtime. This leads us to the mistaken impression that getting plenty of sleep is just for kids. Because of that messaging, we come to see staying up late as a privilege. Before long, we find it hard to get sufficient sleep as an adult.
Sometimes, a new mattress will fix the problem, at least for a while. But sleep experts will tell you that there is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Technology has robbed us of excuses for bad sleep behavior. We can record our favorite late night shows and watch them in the morning on the subway. We don’t have to stay up late and play games because gaming is portable, and can be taken anywhere during our waking hours.
For best results, we should return to the childhood advice that prioritizes a good night’s sleep over less important amusements.
Stay in School
One of childhood’s greatest lessons is to study hard and stay in school. But what many children hear is study hard enough to pass the test. And stay in school until you are old enough to leave it behind. But school is something we never really complete. It is a way of teaching us how to learn. And when done right, school transforms us into lifetime learners.
The books we read in English lit should be the light that sparks the flame of a lifelong passion for reading. The taste of history we get in school should propel us into civic involvement as adults.
When it comes to our health, continuing education is key. We have to stay on top of the latest research. Much of what we learned about nutrition as a child has been supplanted with better information. Maximizing our health and wellbeing means that we never stop learning.
We should never outgrow some messages from our childhood. Don’t eat poison. Get plenty of sleep. And stay in school are not just childhood lessons. They are life-enhancing messages for everyone at any age.