The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

What We All Need 2 Learn from Little Kids


My commute to and from Washington, D.C. can hardly be described as fun. It’s always too crowded, too hot or too cold and filled with unsmiling people who grimace and grunt as they get gored by someone’s briefcase or backpack. Even though we’re all suffering together, no one talks or smiles and eye contact is strictly to be avoided ’cause that’s just creepy. That was until four year-old Zoe came along the other night.

I offered up my seat to Zoe’s mom who is expecting and while she declined the seat, Zoe boldly claimed “I want to sit!” so I willingly gave up my seat, and unknowingly, my heart, to this little girl. She sat down and immediately hugged the woman who was sitting next to her and regaled us all with her tales of trick-or-treating and her two costumes (a thcary witch and Tinkerbell though she was not at all happy about her lack of wand), her school, her lack of homework, her preferred iPhone games (Bejeweled in case you were wondering) and favorite princess (Ariel, also in case you were wondering). She then counted us out, asked our names and invited us all over to dinner that night. When one woman remarked that perhaps her mother didn’t want company, Zoe declared that she would just make us all sandwiches. Before you know it, fellow commuters were smiling, laughing, interacting and the commute was over, probably too soon, for all of us. Before I got off the train one man even thanked me for giving up my seat.

Why am I telling you this story? Well, because you are still young and because, as you get older, you will inevitably start to put up walls and will become an overly serious adult too. It won’t be cool to hug your parents. You’ll stop smiling at people and avoid eye contact. You’ll grow more careful about what you share, how you share it and with whom. While this is natural and even a good safety precaution in some cases, it’s also kinda sad.

Growing up has it’s perks and pluses (like driving, getting to make decisions on your own, gaining a deeper understanding of life and your place in it), but it’s also pretty complicated. Before you know it you’ll be commuting to your job every day and looking wistfully at the little kid sitting across from you who has nothing more to worry about than what she has for snack that day.

If we were all a little more childlike life would be a little lighter, a little brighter and a little more welcoming. So embrace the growing up process but don’t be too quick to abandon those traits and activities that you might consider too “childlike.” Your teen years are precious but don’t try to grow up too fast. It’s ok to play. It’s ok to laugh out loud. It’s even ok to live in an imaginary world with rainbows, unicorns and princesses once in awhile. The real world will hit you soon enough but greeting it with childlike wonder will make it that much easier and enjoyable.




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