Have you ever noticed how many times young children question their world around them? They are seemingly constantly asking the adults in their lives questions about everything one could think of, and even about things we may have never considered! They seem to be keenly aware that the world is a big, amazing, wondrous place, and they want to learn everything they possibly can about it. And can you really blame them? Our world really is quite the amazing, wondrous place!
If you haven’t been graced with the opportunity to have this experience with a young child, or even if you have, I want to introduce you to a big part of my inner spirit. She’s 5 going on 6. (The fact that she’s going on 6 is very, very important.) ;) She loves to make things. She loves to be silly, especially by making up goofy songs and coming up with great word puns. She loves to learn about and to take in the wonder of the world around her. Truth be told, she actually loves to watch Sesame Street sometimes still, and she learns so many simple but profound life lessons from its stories that she can apply to her adult self.
But most of all, she loves, loves, loves to question things. And without a doubt, her most favorite question is definitely “why.”
I don’t ever remember a time in my life when this questioning started, to be honest. My dad used to tell me that when I was little, which was years before the Internet would come to be popular, I would go to the encyclopedia case we had in our house. Yes—the encyclopedia case. We happened to have a set which was probably 50 years old at the time. So apparently, even as young as age 3, before I could even read, I would go to the encyclopedia case and pick out one of the 20 or so volumes and bring it to my father. I’d open it to some random page with a picture and ask, “What’s this, Papa? What’s this? What’s that? Why does that happen? How does that work?” And on and on.
The picture above is of a Lego creation I made when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I really just remember always being this curious when I was younger and somehow not losing it as I grew up. If anything, living as an adult has actually increased my researching and my asking of many questions, especially “why!”
I’m sure that many parents will likely attest that this is very normal behavior for most young children! So, if most of us come into this world with a sense of awe, wanting to explore everything about our environment, wanting to question and learn, and wanting to create things that make us happy, what might cause these traits to sometimes start to slip away as we journey through our lives?
How many of us know people who might no longer feel a stronger connection to some of those traits? Maybe we might see them struggling, wanting to be happy but feeling stuck in work they don’t like, or feeling stuck in relationships or friendships with others. Maybe we can even recognize ourselves at times in these scenarios. Maybe somewhere deep down, we can recognize that there are still remnants of our own inner child somewhere in our being, but maybe we might not have any idea how to bring that great part of our spirit back to life and let it guide us into a life that may feel more peaceful, happy, or authentic.
I’ve definitely had different periods in my own life where, despite my constant questioning, I’ve lost some of the happiness of life. I’ve had times where I’ve let life take the steering wheel and have ignored my inner child more. I’ve had times where outer circumstances have happened that were completely out of my personal control, and I’ve had to shift into pure survival mode for awhile. And truth be told, it was sometimes those days, months, and even years of existing in survival mode that were my greatest wake-up call in resurrecting more remnants of my wonderful inner child’s spirit.
Here are just some of the things that asking “why” has helped me with in my life:
Asking “why” has helped me question and better understand different patterns and dynamics within my family as I grew up. I learned how much these things mattered when I discovered that I’d still been replaying some of those same dynamics as an adult, and some of them I was really ready to grow out of.
Asking “why” has helped me question those I have placed in positions of authority. I have not questioned because I feel that I shouldn’t listen to, trust, or take advice from others. I’ve definitely learned so much from others, which has enhanced my life in innumerable ways. But I have simply questioned because I also believe in learning more about my own self and in following my own heart and gut feelings as well.
Asking “why” has helped me question different health advice I was given when I had some past health issues that weren’t going away when I used the medicine that was prescribed to me.
Asking “why” has helped me question many principles that “society” seems to dictate I must comply with, such as how I should ideally act, think, dress, and speak as a woman, as an adult, as a wife, as a student, or in any other role I may play. In questioning society’s standards, I’ve been able to pick and choose what really feels the most truthful to me, no matter if it is what society seemingly requests.
Asking “why” has helped me question, shift, reframe, and strengthen my relationship with my own sense of spirituality, allowing me more peace than I ever could have previously imagined.
It may be obvious from my examples here that asking “why” as an adult is no joke! It is often no longer just as simple as “why does ice melt when it’s hot?” It can involve digging into some serious, deep, scary, and vulnerable questions and spaces within our hearts and minds. But to me, another scarier alternative is to stay stagnant in life and not to grow. And if there’s anything I love to do more than asking “why,” it is to learn and grow more each and every day I am blessed with this precious gift we call life.
Asking “why” as an adult may be hard for certain periods of our lives, especially if we haven’t recently picked up this process we may have forgotten we used to do so well in years past. But ultimately, for me, asking “why” has given me some of my greatest personal rewards. It has led me into a space of overall peace, happiness, purpose, joy, and love within my life that I don’t believe I could have found in many other ways. Does that mean my life is perfect, that I am perfect, or that every day there are no challenges or additional growth opportunities? Definitely not! :) But it does mean that I feel much better equipped to handle those challenges, and much happier and at peace overall in my life. And to me, those are priceless qualities that I treasure and try to practice each and every day.
The good news is that it doesn’t just have to be me who has this wonderfully persistent 5-going-on-6-year-old spirit inside of her, waiting to ask the next question, make up the next silly song, or find something else about life to marvel at or to enjoy. ;) I truly believe that we all have these capabilities, as evidenced by how we used to be when we were younger ourselves! If we were able to exist in that state then, why not bring it back into our ways of life more often now? What might it do for us, for our lives, for our levels of happiness, peace, and joy? What might it teach us? What might it help us to maybe uncomfortably but truthfully admit and then to find peace with?
Your challenge for this week, if you so choose, is to take some time this week imagining what your own inner child may be like. How old is he or she? What do they love to do, even if—especially if!-- it seems silly, goofy, or “weird?” What great ideas do they want to share with you? What do they want to learn more about? What do they want to make or create? Who do they want to pretend to be? And what are they most scared about? How might you comfort them? How might you reassure them, or love them even when they are scared? What do they most want to tell you? What really lights them up and makes them excitedly jump up and down?
As you consider these ideas, see if you can allow your “adult” mind—and in this particular example, I mean the mind that may be more judgmental or self-conscious—a bit of a rest. It may be resistant, but just reassure that part of your thinking that you can come back to it soon enough. ;) In the meantime, try reconnecting with your inner child and see what they have to say. And remember, they won’t ever put you down. They won’t sound or act anything like your inner perfectionist (dragon) critic might. They’ll be up for trying new things and loving the process. So just for fun, and if you’d love to humor my own 5-going-on-6-year-old’s spirit, see what they have to say. :) And if you feel so inspired, feel free to leave a comment about your thoughts or experiences on these ideas below.
Did you like this reflection? If so, please share it on Facebook or other social media!
Just copy and paste this link!
Looking for more ways to connect with and listen to what your inner child wants to tell you? Check out my first book right here. It's a fantastic place for you to do just that! :)
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,