Kids: They dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music. – William Stafford
When was the last time you watched a child play in the rain?
For that matter, if you’re a parent, when was the last time you allowed your child to play in the rain, jumping through the puddles? Taking it one step further, when was the last time you jumped in a puddle?
Yesterday, I attended an employee family picnic at a park across the street from our office. It began to rain just as the picnic was getting started. Fortunately, there was a very large shelter so we could all gather under it and wait out Mother Nature. After a time, the rain lightened up to a mist. The children, by now restless from being kept away from the playground, started to venture out to the wet grounds.
I spotted an adorable little girl, perhaps one and a half years old, toddling toward a puddle. After a few shaky steps, victory! She was in the water! Quicker that the blink of an eye, she started stomping her bare little feet. Slowly at first, then quicker, and quicker.
The little girl squealed with delight. Water and mud from the little puddle were splashing up, getting the girl’s legs wet. She kept up the rhythmic little dance.
Stomp, stomp, stomp. Squeal. Giggle. Stomp, stomp, stomp.
As I reflect on this sight a few hours later, it occurs to me that all of us probably giggled with joy at experiencing a mud puddle when we were children. And although it was so much fun, as we grow up, we lose the child’s delight in such simple things.
As adults, we would carefully step around puddles, not go dance in them. We would avoid the water splashing on our legs and clothes, rather that squeal with delight. We would likely be annoyed by mud spatters; not at all pleased by the adventure. Most of us would be self-conscious of the people standing around us, and that would prevent us from enjoying the joyful mud puddle dance.
When and why does that happen to us?
Here’s an idea. No, perhaps a challenge! Forget adulthood self-controlled stuffiness and act like a kid today. Think of a favorite childhood activity and indulge in it. Pay attention to how it makes you feel – deep in your core. Be fully present to the memories conjured up, the freedom felt, and the childlike wonder of pure, innocent fun.
Skip rope. Pick up a box of crayons and a coloring book and enjoy. Eat and enjoy some sweet sticky cotten candy. Tell a silly joke to a friend a share a belly laugh. Hold a teddy bear and squeeze tight. Build the tallest block tower you can. Chase butterflies in the day and fireflies at night. Go bike riding in the rain.
Find your mud puddle and dance!