I guess there’s not much I can tell you about yourself that you don’t already now. But I can’t tell you what I learned about people and maybe some of that goes for you as well.
As an entertainer and kindergarten assistant, but also as a four-time uncle I had a chance to work with a lot of children. Talking to them and playing with them, asking them questions and hearing what questions they had, figuring out what makes them laugh, how to get them to behave or how to help them overcome their shyness gave me a new perspective on grown-ups. I realised that although growing up makes us change in numerous ways, there is something at the very core of our personality that stays the same. Something that you don’t see on the surface but that you get a brief glimpse of, in the way a person responds, in the way they laugh, get frustrated, curious or happy.
Most of my friends I have known only as adults, but sometimes, when I give a compliment to my friend Michael saying that I love his music, in his shy smile I can see the child, not really sure whether I’m pulling his leg or really mean it. Sometimes when I tease my friend Johanna, I can fully imagine what she was like as a child in the way she gets playfully angry and pushes me away. Even with my father, who is 63, when he makes a lighthearted, naughty joke, on his face I can see a flash of a mischievous 12-year old boy, happy as he made everyone laugh.
Now as there are all sorts of people, there are also all sorts of children – extroverted and introverted, of quick temper and phlegmatic, passionate and cold-headed – but in the environments they perceive safe, almost all children do three things: they play, they express themselves and they explore. There aren’t many things more inspiring then seeing them do that.
But observing how we behave as kids and as adults, I also learned that as we grow up, we seem to allow ourselves less and less. I don’t think that we lose the child in us, but the safe environment in which we allow the child to come out becomes smaller. We suppress these desires, we cease to play, we get scared of expressing ourselves and we forget to be curious, so we get too busy to explore.
I find that these three activities (or the lack of them) are a great part of anything we do, whether it’s how we approach our professional responsibilities, studies, goals, self-development or hobbies. I believe it is also a vital part of good communication skills. In my experience, out of all the people I’ve met, those who learned how to integrate these desires into the way they speak, listen, and act while however showing consideration for the world around them – those were the people that affected me and their environments the most. I learned from such people and many of them told me they had learned it as well.
Would you agree? Do you have a different opinion? What is your story? Write me an e-mail or write a comment on the blog. This whole thing is about speaking, so I would love to hear you speak and express yourself. Trust me, it’s a great feeling. Plus, I’m always there to listen.
Curious about what a fennel is? Come with me: The fire in the fennel