Three Things You Should Learn from Children

Many of look back fondly our childhood as a time of innocence and carefree fun.  If only we could return to those days and recapture some of unfettered joy.  Most of us enjoy the things that have been added to our lives as we’ve gone along: even if they make things a bit complicated at times.  Going back might seem silly in that light.  However, there are some things we should consider returning to doing as we did while we were children.  Children can teach us how to do some rather fundamental things better than we adults do them.

How to Breath

If you watch a young child, you may notice that all of their breaths gently and fully expand the abdomen.  A child’s breaths are long and easy.  This is called post-navel breathing, and it is a method of breathing that more fully provides the body with vital and nourishing oxygen.  In contrast, the typical adult takes quick, short breaths that only go as deep as the upper chest. Adult breaths can be described as tense and shallow. This shallow method of breathing barely provides the body with just enough to get by.  We all come into this world knowing how to provide our bodies with an abundance of rich oxygen, but somewhere along the line we forget how to and switch to almost oxygen-starving ourselves.  We should breath the way young children do.

As adults, most of us have forgotten how to breath correctly

How to Use Your Body

How many people do you know have or have had back problems? All those back problems could be easily avoided if we all moved the way young children do.  Yes, children haven’t quite fully developed the whole sense of of coordination thing, but they intuitively know the right way to structurally move their bodies.

When the typical adult picks something up, the adult bends over and reaches out with the adult arm (see below).  This lazy way of picking something up puts undue stress on the back, and most people arch their backs when they do this which is even worse.  Repeating this motion many times, the way that most people do, quickly leads to sore backs.

Children, on the other hand, will squat down in order to pick something up.  This puts the strain of the motion on the much stronger leg muscles which can easily handle this sort of work all day.  Young children also keep their backs straight and upright which truly shows their innate knowledge of to naturally and easily move the body in non-stressful ways.

We adults seem to have forgotton how to use our bodies’ structure to our advantage the way children know how to.

Picking things up is just one example.  Watch how children do other motions such as walking or climbing and you’ll see that it is more structurally sound than how most adults do it.

How to Think

Okay, so the title to this section may sound more than a little ostentatious, but listen to this anecdote before passing final judgment:  Chris Angel (shown below) is a famous stuntman and “illusionist.”  For those of you who know of him, or have seen episodes from the first season of his show, the remarkable thing about Chris Angel is that most of his so called “illusions” seem pretty darned real, and the implications of which are quite intriguing.  In the picture below, Angel is shown levitating a volunteer from a street audience.  The scene is from a street corner and not a stage.  I can’t say if the girl is actually levitating or not, but I challenge anyone to explain how he may have done it.  Whether its reality or illusion, the spectacle is still amazing.  When asked how he is able to do such things, Angel responds by saying that he always tries to think like a child because children are imaginative and don’t limit themselves.

Thinking like a child can free your mind and thereby free you from standard limitations

Think about it: most young children believe that they can do anything.  Young children learn by joyously exploring the world around them in pursuit of their momentary fancies.  A young child won’t say that they can’t do something or aren’t good enough. They’ll just enjoy the experience of trying.  Contrast that with most adults who make decisions in life based on what they supposedly can or can’t do, or on what others may think of them, or based on what they “should be” doing.  Most adults have a web of mentally constructed constraints that they placed on themselves that when examined makes little logical sense.  Believe in the possible and enjoy the journey the way young children do, and see how that changes your experience.


Children breath better, use their bodies more correctly, and think more freely than we do.  We can sure learn a lot of useful things from them.  While there perhaps isn’t virtue to trying to over simplify one’s adult life, there is perhaps something that can be gained by getting back in touch with one’s inner child.  Give it a try.


  1. Mr. Walsh,
    Let us not forget as well that kids often ask “why” a lot . When was the last time you ever questioned anything and I do not mean as to question authority but why we do certain forms a certain way of why we eat things and so on. I have a three year old toddler who every day her mom and laugh so hard because she will ask why about everything. Why did you say hello? Why are you trying to greet me? Why are you being nice? why are you here and not there? It is sad to think that as adults we have for hte most part questioned or wonder about anything. And won’t you agree that imagination and exploration go hand in hand?
    Thanks again for another awesome and interesting post.

    1. Rose,
      That’s an excellent point! Imagination and exploring definitely go hand in hand because you probably won’t explore something you’re not curious enough to wonder about. Children are very inquisitive, and that helps them learn a lot of things quickly. Master Pearson devoted part of a winter retreat to discussing the importance of asking the question “Why.” Thank you for reading and participating in our blog. You always have such good things to contribute.

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