Stop and Be a Child Again


Stop for just a minute. Take in what's around you. Trust me, it's worth it.

We adults take everything so seriously. Our days consist of deadlines, budgets and presentations. We never feel finished for the day and we regret leaving a mound of work for tomorrow. We're constantly feeling overwhelmed and we hardly smile.

Children are always in the moment. Watching them reminds us what it felt like when we were kids. We played too, we had fun, we were spontaneously in the moment... and we laughed. You remember that, right?

I am definitely an A-type personality -- Go, Go, Go was my manta, the faster the better.

But that all stopped when we started having Reading Parties in our Reading Center. Now nearly every morning about 10:30 a steady stream of 4-, 5- or 6-year-olds pass all of us on the way to one of our reading rooms. No matter what any of us are doing, the magnetic force of these adorable little beings tugs on us and we stop, smile and wave. And they wave back! And there's no way we can wave to one or two of them and jump right back into our desk work. No! We feel compelled to wave and smile and shout "hi there!" to every single one of them. We even surprise ourselves when giggles escape from our throats. The children disappear into the back and we find ourselves grinning ear to ear. It really takes a few seconds to remember what we were doing before we saw that first little face. Work seems like it evaporated and I for one have to force myself to go back to it. And then I try and do it a little better.

No matter how hard we try to take care of those emails, phone calls and paperwork piling up, the small voices reading and laughing in the back distract us -- and that's good for the heart in our business of nonprofit. We "see" the reason for our being. We "hear" how our work is helping, and we "feel" how good it is to make a contribution.

We all say we have so much work to do every minute of every day.

"You can't believe the number of emails I have!" is an all-too-popular cry among co-workers these days.

The next time you feel that way, or even utter those words, stop and look around.

You may see happy faces ... or hear laughter... that could make you forget that computer on your desk. No matter what you see, take it in. Watch it, listen to it and really feel how it makes you feel. You may laugh again. And that's worth stopping for.