Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Think and Act Like a Kid Again

I have a varied career and am a trifecta for the organizer when it comes to volunteering for Career Day at any school. I can cover three careers - trainer, engineer and fitness instructor. The high schools are more interested in having me discuss engineering, but I usually get to cover all three in my presentation when I work with the younger kids. I have games I play and activities to keep them interested and involved. One game I really like to use is a creativity exercise called the Paper Airplane game. The group is divided into teams and each team is given a different colored pack of paper to use. The object of the game is to be the team with the most paper airplanes in the landing zone when time is called (that is the only instruction given). The game only lasts for a few minutes and all teams start from behind the same starting line and have the same landing zone as a target. I have played the game with players of all ages from elementary school to adults. It is interesting to watch the differences in the age groups. The little kids make all kinds of airplanes including wadded up balls and paper is flying everywhere along with giggles and squeals. Once one teacher tried to correct the kids showing them how to correctly make an airplane and I had to stop her and tell them they were just fine. The older the kids were that played the game, the more restricted they were in their behavior. The adults would organize themselves, ask the best airplane maker to teach the others or set up assembly lines. It was an interesting experiment. One adult team would inevitably start to throw sheets of paper as the time started to run out, with someone finally throwing the rest of the pack to win the game.

We restrict our creativity as we grow up. We have to conform to all sorts of rules and our childlike spirit disappears. There were no rules in the game on what an airplane had to look like but we put restrictions on ourselves. The kids had no restrictions.

I held a yoga party on the beach last evening. A little boy that couldn't have been more than eight years old was watching us do yoga and came up to me and said he wanted to do it too. I told him he was very welcome to join us and he found a place for himself alongside the other yoga students. He did every pose that we did but with his own little eight year old twist to it. When he fell he didn't stop, he just tried again. He even tried the advanced poses where only your hands were in the sand and your feet were in the air. He stayed for the entire hour including resting quietly on his back in corpse pose for our savasana relaxation.

I smiled as I watched my regular yoga class this evening. No one stopped because they fell down or something was too hard. They just tried again and hung in there and made it to the end, like my eight year old yoga buddy.

We should all be more like eight year old kids in all we do - the world would be a better and more fun place to be.