No Cat in the Hat
To show us how it’s done?
Well, then, we’ll find
Our own ways to have lots of fun…
That’s my attempt at a Dr. Seuss-type rhyme (I know, I know…I’ll keep my day job!)
The following activity is adapted from one of my favorite books, Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher. This author has a fabulous talent for helping you zero in on the things that matter most. The idea here is to re-capture some of those joyful feelings from your childhood and see how they might be applied to your adult life. You’ll need a journal, or at least ten sheets of paper, as well as something to write with:
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
What did you love to do as a child? As an adolescent? As a young adult? As we got older and took on more responsibilities, many of us “put away our childish ways.” To some extent, that was appropriate, of course. But we shouldn’t be too quick to forget all about what we loved then because there’s a pretty good chance that on some level, our “inner child” loves these things—or certain aspects of these things—still
Think back to your childhood, when you were 8, 9, or 10. What games or activities did you enjoy most? How did you spend those lazy summer days? Give it some thought and then pull out your journal or a sheet of paper and write down three things you loved to do as a child. Now do the same for your adolescence—when you were 14, 15, or 16. And finally as a young adult, when you were in your 20s. (Try to keep it legal here, please!)
Next, take nine sheets of paper or pages in your journal and write one thing (from the activity you just completed) that you used to love to do across the top of each. Below that, on the left hand side of the page, write a heading “What I Loved Most.” Now ask yourself why you loved this activity. What was it—specifically—about it that you loved? For instance, if you loved riding your bike, was it because of the freedom you felt? Did you like being outdoors? Did you love the speed? Were you a daredevil, riding with no hands? What, exactly, was it about this activity that appealed to you? Write down two or three things for each activity.
Now, on the right hand side of each page, write the heading “Themes.” Look back over all of your activities and make note of any themes that emerge. Do you see a need to be independent in your bike riding? A desire to see new places? Did you enjoy taking risks risks or competing with the other kids? Everything you ever loved had a very personal, very strong purpose behind it. What was it?
Finally, below all of this, write the headline “Today” in the middle of each page. Brainstorm everything you currently do—or could do—that would satisfy the personal purpose and desires that emerged in these themes.
In the coming week, make it a point to put away your adult seriousness—at least for a few moments—and play like a child. If you have a child around to play with so much the better (they can help “retrain” you!) If not, you’ll probably find that it comes back to you (like riding a bike…).
If possible, do one (or more) of the things you identified above. If not, here are some other ideas:
Build a sandcastle
Jump rope/see if you can remember the rhymes
Play clapping games
Roll down a hill
Ride a roller coaster or other carnival ride
Slide down a slide, swing on the swings, or play on the jungle gym at a park
Play pool games—Marco Polo, tag
Sing silly songs (Can you still do the Hokey Pokey?)
Take a walk in the rain and jump in the puddles
Go sledding or have a snowball fight (presuming you have the necessary ingredient…)
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