Are you smarter than a 2 year old?

by Elizabeth on August 20, 2013

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Noah is actually only 21 months old as of Sunday. But I’m the kind of person who needs to mentally prepare for big life changes such as birthdays so this is my way of introducing myself to the fact that my “little baby who was just born a few weeks ago” is almost 2. That, and the fact that, “Are you smarter than a 21 month old?” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Moving on, while I was running the other day (don’t you just have the most INSIGHTFUL thought processes while you’re running?) I got to thinking how much I could learn from this little guy who seemingly should be learning from me…

1. Not having a routine/schedule and not knowing what’s to come won’t kill me. Isn’t it funny how kids wake up and have no idea what the day will bring? They are (usually) joyful and anticipatory even they have no idea what they’re doing for the next 24 hours. They’re happy just to be alive! I tend to get anxious without a plan and schedule, and while I think there is definitely a place for those things, I tend to go overboard with the NEED for them. The truth is, it’s not necessary for every moment of our lives to be perfectly scheduled. Things happen, plans change, and life feels more manageable when we expect this and are able to ebb and flow with it. I’d like to try to be more like Noah in the sense that he goes with the flow of our days and is just excited to be alive!

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2. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Then forget about it and move on. It has crossed my mind several times how so many people could benefit from eating the way children do! Letting food just be nourishment and leaving it at that. Noah let’s me know when he’s hungry. He eats whatever I give him with in no particular order or pattern. If he’s still hungry he will ask for more, if not he stops (or throws it at the walls, ceilings, me, etc.) He isn’t looking at food groups, nutritional statuses, worried about what he already ate that day or what he will eat later, how much he ran around and played and if he “really needs this much of this food,” he’s just in the moment and listening to what his body wants. When it’s done he never has another thought about that particular meal. 

3. Freely express your emotions. Obviously this doesn’t mean throw a temper tantrum when something makes you mad, but it’s so important to express how you’re feeling and not bottle it up! This doesn’t come naturally to me at all? I avoid uncomfortable emotions like the plague. However, I know that when you don’t express things directly they come out sideways (eating disorder, addictions, compulsions, etc.) because the essence of an emotion is MOVEMENT. It needs to move through us and then it can fade.

4. Trust those who have your best interest at heart. Sometimes I worry about the future. What’s in store for us? What does it hold? Will everything work out? Again, I have no control over any of these things. There is someone who does have control and I am working on trusting Him more. When I think about my love for Noah, and how I would do everything in my power for him to be healthy, happy, and balanced, it’s easy to see why God tells us, “All things work together for good.” He’s got this! Can my love for Noah even compare to God’s love for me? Probably not. And I like to think Noah knows, feels, and trusts that I am doing things in his best interest to the best of my ability. If I can do that for him, there’s no way I can fathom what God is doing for me. I need to trust that!

That’s all I’ve got friends. Thanks for reading!

What important lessons have you learned from children?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz @ The Girl on Fire Now August 20, 2013 at 5:43 am

I really love the idea of eating like a child. When I was little, I loved cinnamon sugar on bagels – I didn’t think about how “unhealthy” too much “added sugar” is. Guess what I had for breakfast this morning? ;)
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2 Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl August 20, 2013 at 5:52 am

Oh my gosh these were all spot on!!! Seriously you are so right… these are wonderful lessons to take away– especially the “eat when hungry, stop when full” and “not having a schedule”. I get so caught up in both of those things. I spend the majority of my day thinking about and planning meals, food, nutrition, workouts, run, exercise, etc. I hate it! I am getting better, but it is still a burden that I wish I could break!

Thanks for the helpful tips Noah!! :)
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3 Jojo @ RunFastEatLots August 20, 2013 at 6:27 am

Haha I love this list! It’s a great reminder to not take life too seriously, live it up, and listen to your body.
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4 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy August 20, 2013 at 6:58 am

All of the above! I’ve also learned that body language says A LOT to your children and to other people. My kids will flat out ask… why do you look like you’re in a bad mood? It makes you stop and really think about it!
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5 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves August 20, 2013 at 7:01 am

I could not agree with this more! I’m not a mommy, but I learn SO much from my little cousins (I’m quite a bit older than them–I could basically be their aunt). In particular, my 5-year-old cousin is never afraid to talk about God and Heaven and her hopes/fears for the future. The simplicity and joy of children is so inspiring, indeed!
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6 Nicole @ Not Before My Tea August 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

Your runs are A LOT more insightful than mine. ;) But seriously, this is a great list. I like number one and two especially; I wish we didn’t lose those qualities as we get older!

PS – Thanks for posting a link to all your other social media sites. I don’t know if I just missed them before or what, but I’m just now jumping on the Twitter and Instagram bandwagon and it’s hard finding the people you want to follow!
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7 Carly @ Snack Therapy August 20, 2013 at 7:41 am

I love how kind children are. They don’t see race, religion, or sexual orientation. It’s so crazy to me how much people change between childhood and adulthood. When does the hate creepy in? Ick.
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8 Amy @ Long Drive Journey August 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

I live by “eat when hungry, stop when full” and I think it makes my relationship with food a lot better.

This must have been some run you had!
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9 Katie @ running4cupcakes August 20, 2013 at 7:59 am

This is an awesome post and all points are true!! And I totally agree that I have the best thoughts and thinking when I am running. I have loved watching Luke grow up so far (16 months last week!) and watching him experience the world and it just makes you love and appreciate life so much more, right?
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10 Debbie @ DebRuns August 20, 2013 at 8:01 am

These are great points that I’d never really thought about, especially the eating one. Oh, to be able to live like a child! I will tell you a little secret, though. The older I get, the more I’m able to let things slid and be less regimented… Perhaps I’m reverting back to my childhood, and as you just pointed out, maybe it’s not such a bad thing! :-)
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11 Sarah @ Sweet Miles August 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

Excellent points!! Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses, loved that you mentioned it :) It’s amazing what simple yet complex lessons children can teach us. God surely knows what he’s doing!
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12 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom August 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

I love the eating like a child one. I’m working on that and I’m getting better at it! I’ve learned from children to never be afraid to experiment. Dress up, color pictures, put on wild make-up, do whatever it takes to explore your boundaries (safely) and discover who you are!
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13 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 20, 2013 at 9:18 am

Yes, yes, yes! We can learn SO much from children. I’ve often times thought about how children (even babies!) eat. Like you said, they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full, and that’s that. I think children are a great model for us (sometimes uptight) adults. :)
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14 [email protected] August 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

What good thoughts! I totally agree!!! Sometimes I wish I could switch my 3 year olds places! Wouldn’t it be fun to be a kid again!?
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15 Amy @ Run Mom Run August 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

Love this post! The scriptures say we should be like a child, and these are some of the ways we should be!
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16 Caitlin August 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

I’m amazed that you thought all of this up while running. I swear, I’ll be out there for over an hour- sometimes going on 2+, and clearly I have to be thinking about something but couldn’t tell you what and definitely not something as thorough as your list above.

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17 jenn @ runnderlust August 20, 2013 at 10:32 am

i think about that all the time, how different our lives would be if we acted more like how children viewed the world. they are so carefree and innocent —i think their way of living just sounds more logical! eat only until you are full; turn down food you don’t want. SLEEP WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT! :)
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18 Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

I’m completely convinced that I was smarter as a child than I am now… at least when it comes to some of the more intuitive things surrounding health and nutrition. I think we’re all born with all the knowledge that we need, and all the things we “learn” as we grow up only muck things up. Thankfully, it’s never too late to unlearn :D
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19 [email protected] August 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Great post!!

Noah is sooo cute!

Ahh the throwing food everywhere game – so.much.fun —> for my mop and broom! ;-)
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20 Rena August 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

love this!!

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