Great Information in Unlikely Places
“There is child in all of us that refuses to grow up, a child that is in awe of what can be, the polar opposite of the cynic in all of us who despairs over what is.” ~ Shatrujeet Nath
It is often said holidays can bring out the child in us. While we may be struggling with that notion because of how difficult and complicated life can be, even the exercise of trying to see from an inner innocence is a good thing. The joy, the wonder and the awe.
Yet, as the above quote suggests, there’s great reason to appreciate the child in all of us, and not just at the holidays. You see a trend as the world gets more fast-moving and unpredictable, people are reaching for things that are grounded and uncomplicated. They want a little glimpse of the days when learning was fun and simpler. To rediscover play and laugh more. And to be reminded of endless possibilities and brilliance. And all this can all be found in the unlikely place of early children’s books and children’s programming.
There is a reason why “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum became a bestseller. And this was way before we had to make lemonade out of lemons during this pandemic.
On AppleTV, there is a program called, “Dear…” One of the episodes is about the positive influence of Big Bird of Sesame Street toward happier adult lives. Jazz at Lincoln Center just broadcast jazz renditions of “50 Years of Sesame Street” music that many of you would appreciate. Also, the popularity of the documentary on Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and the Tom Hanks drama, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” based on the book, “Can You Say…Hero” by Tom Junod. And that there was a recent remake of the children’s classic of endless possibilities: “Mary Poppins”.
Books and entertainment meant for children are filled with life’s lessons for business leaders personally and professionally. They provide pointers and insights about people and how we are motivated, what’s similar about us and what’s different, how we can manage difficult times. They do it without the heaviness that may come with adult experiences. And, one of the best gifts they offer is a way to access joy any time.
I bring up lessons from Daniel Tiger from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood or from The Helpsters with my clients. (If you are unfamiliar, Daniel’s episodes are today’s version of Mr. Rogers). My clients often first smile and then think I’m humoring them or they are humoring me in my uniqueness. Then when I explain, the tools actually become useful. For instance, Daniel teaches how to practice breathing and silence when you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or not getting the results you want. The Helpsters educate about making a plan and taking each step to reach a goal. They de-escalate the overwhelmingness of getting projects done. I also use blowing bubbles (the wand and bottle kind) to blow off steam or to take a conversation down a notch.
Here are just some of the up-to-the-minute topics you’ll find in children’s media:
- Everyone Matters
- Shift Your Mindset
- How To Be Kinder
- We All Have a Unique Story To Tell
- How to Deal With Loss
- Everybody Makes Mistakes
- It Takes Time to Learn
- Treat People with Respect
- Help People to Feel Good
- What Makes Us Different Makes Us Special
- Explaining Autism
- Embrace Your Own Identity and Others
As you lead your team, could you use some of these topics in better understanding, appreciating and encouraging your individual team members? Could you use some of these materials, like I mentioned above, to work through tough situations? Consider this, children’s books and media can teach lessons that assist with hiring, retention, and overall understanding of the individuals on your team. Also, they can be helpful teaching you to navigate through your own stressful moments at work and personally. And, the content resonates with all generations in the workplace.
Whether in our days of social justice, equity, and Covid19, there’s always a place to learn, remember or relearn emotions, with awe and possibility that children have access to. And now you can have access to them too.
If you are looking for suggestions to watch or read, email me. I’ll also tell you which brand makes the best bubbles.
May the holidays bring out the child in you times ten. Or to “infinity and beyond”.
The world right now needs more leaders and the right leaders.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
If you would like to have a conversation on how you can do this, contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com