Kids are a marvel at four years old. The world is such a big, bright, fun place. People can do no wrong. Everything is a possibility; implausibility does not exist. It’s with this limitless mindset that my then four-year old son taught me a profound lesson on thinking. Yes, thinking.
My four-year-old son was eating an apple, and got that look a young child gets who is about to ask a serious question – you know, the mixture of wonder, confusion and wide-eyed innocence. He asked what apple seeds are for. My husband told him that you can plant seeds to get more apples from apple trees. My son immediately perked up and wanted to go out and plant his seeds right then. My husband gently explained that our environment is not conducive to that, so we should throw the seeds out. Undeterred, my son asked if we could save the seeds and sell them to a state where we can plant them. He already had an entrepreneurial mindset!
Though as a mom I was bursting at the seams (let’s face it, parents, anything positive from our children makes us proud!), I couldn’t help but be smacked in the face by the truth of his simple statements. We can all learn a lot from my four-year-old:
1. Thinking outside the box should be an everyday occurrence. Is your mind too cluttered with mundane things? Do you just choose safe, tried solutions because you’re afraid to take risks? Are you tired of hearing others decide for you what you can and can’t do? Just because THEY can’t do it, doesn’t mean YOU can’t. Status quo solutions don’t work for everyone. Just look at … Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus … get my point?
2. Be solution-oriented instead of problem-plagued. The problem was we couldn’t plant apples in our environment. The simple solution … well where can we plant them? They say you can’t do this or that … okay well what CAN you do? It is as simple as it sounds. Problem-plagued sees the problem, while solution-oriented figures what to do about it.
3. Take the limits off! This one is such a profound statement to me, because it means so many different things. Taking the limits off can mean not telling yourself you’re too old to start a business. It can mean telling yourself there is nothing wrong with wanting to forego a career to stay home and raise your family. It can mean going back to school or pursuing the hobby that has always held your interest. It means to stop limiting yourself to other people’s expectations. The only one who can decide what you can or cannot do is YOU!
In one short conversation, my child led me to some positive self-assessment and caused me to kick my thinking and attitude into high gear. Be open to however God wants to speak to you! “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV).
The only one who can decide what you can do is YOU! Until next time ….