I find myself often caught up in the freedom of choice we so much enjoy. My collection of unread books testifies to that. However, this wonderful freedom can also lead to wonderful indecision, and we suddenly lose focus. I decided recently to put a stop to this, and I did it by going back.
I believe the seeds to our talents and skills were already around as a kid, as a teen, and even as we entered into our 20s. So why not build on what we already know? Why not focus on what we’ve already done?
There’s a milk campaign on TV right now speaking to the joys of our childhood. It does a good job of reconnecting the viewer to the nostalgia of youth. I certainly feel good watching those commercials, though I haven’t bought any milk because of them.
Tempering the freedoms of childhood with the wisdom of adulthood has a purpose: it’s how we grow and improve ourselves. However, the overly critical behaviours that often characterize adulthood cause our problems. As a child, I spent a lot of my time reading and creating. I created stories, crafts, dances, games with friends. So why not focus on what’s already there?
It’s such an obvious question I almost feel silly admitting to the world that I didn’t think of it earlier. No kids going to school learn random material: teachers scaffold what students know, building new knowledge on old. How could I forget that most crucial lesson from school?
I think I understand what Shakespeare meant with “To thine own self be true.” It doesn’t mean don’t change, don’t grow. An acorn isn’t an oak tree: it grows into one, but it doesn’t become a tomato plant. You’ve gained a lot of new skills and knowledge since your childhood days, and your life situation is also vastly different, so clearly you’re not the same person you were as a child.
However, we can still match our adult wisdom with our childhood loves. The seeds for our talents and interests were already present when we were kids. So go and water them.
(And add a heavy dose of fertilizer).