Finish Strong Like a Kid
The smell of popcorn and cinnamon coupled with an early evening showing of the Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph or The Christmas Story (you know that great movie that includes the famous line, “I double dog dare ya!”) sends me into kid-spirit overload.
I live in the world of the girl. Thanks to my work with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade girls in Girls on the Run I have the opportunity to relive much of what I missed, first go-round, when I was young. My home life, back then, was a bit chaotic. Holiday time, while full of fun, also brought with it some “anxiety-in-the-belly” with the overindulgence, stress and dysfunction that seems to emerge for many families at this time of year.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve received what feels like an infinite number of cards and emails over the years from Girls on the Run volunteers, who are reminded of the joy that comes with honoring our little-girl-spirits and remembering that she lives and breathes gratefully within our core…a gentle and beautiful reminder of who we were before the “should and ought to rules of adulthood” came into our grown-up psyches.
So, in honor of that holiday spirit AND the kid-one just chomping at the bit to come out in you…let’s finish strong and give the gift of joy, wonder and fuzzy slippers to ourselves and do what any other 8 year old girl would do this time of year. What follows are my top ten list of things all kids do, that we adults should do…at least during the holiday season. Come on now. Let that little girl in you, leap, run, play! I double dog dare ya!
- Wear your favorite super hero costume for no reason. Show up at work, the drug store, grocery shopping, a holiday party…in your favorite. The world needs super heroes. Be one.
- Grab your iPod or other music device, put on the ear buds, and sing holiday songs. Do this with a tremendous amount of volume — not from your music player, but from your singing voice. Do this everywhere or anywhere. No one is paying attention… or at least you don’t think so.
- Race people. Whatever they are doing, challenge them to race it. This may include eating your favorite gingerbread cookie, drinking a large glass of milk, getting to the car loaded down with lots of holiday shopping bags, getting dressed into that spicy little holiday dress or singing jingle bells. A healthy dose of daily competition prepares you for the real world. We can’t win ALL the time.
- When eating out, ask for the kids’ menu — the one with the cool pictures on it that you can color, and the crayons that go with it. Color while you wait for your meal. (For added fun, color outside the lines.)
- Wear sneakers a lot. The BEST sneakers are those you have colored on. For added festive and holiday fun, glue sequins onto them. Do it… you wild and crazy rebel you.
- Hold people’s hands. It IS a good idea to be sure that you know the person, but if you like them, hold their hand. You can do this anywhere. Going on a run, shopping, watching TV, driving in the car.
- Enjoy the benefits of nature, especially in the cold. This means not using an umbrella; not wearing a winter coat when it is 25 degrees outside; setting up a lemonade stand; jumping unabashedly into a large pile of leaves that your neighbor spent an entire Saturday neatly arranging in their front yard, going for a run in a tutu with hot pink leggings or just hunkering down in the front yard or in a park somewhere with a steaming mug of hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows of course).
- Pass notes during meetings… at least until the holiday break. The content of the notes, however, is not about the meeting, but about other stuff… like what you are going to wear tomorrow, your latest celebrity crush or what you are asking your friends and relatives to bring for holiday gifts.
- Do a handstand or cartwheel when and wherever you feel like it. It’s okay. I promise. For added impact, skip first… and then launch.
- Tell someone, other than a family member, you love ‘em. For added fun, send it in a note with a picture you have drawn. Even better, include puffy glue and sparkly stuff on the paper, and misspell the words for added impact.
Now I recognize that if we adults did these things on any regular basis, we would be considered a bit odd, but I do wonder what might happen… if, for the fun of it… you just tried ONE of these this holiday season. I mean really… who is going to care if you ask for the kids’ menu or you make a card for someone you love, especially during this time of year.
The older I get the more child-like I become. I think I’m finally figuring out that child-like means joyful, present and alive… and who wouldn’t want THAT! Happy holidays ya’ll.
Go on now… I’ll race ya!