One of the reasons why I decided to major in Elementary Education is because children are free and innocent. They are not afraid to let their imagination run wild, to be honest, say what they feel, and just be themselves! I just think that is something that is really special and that should be cherished!
I recently had an experience that helped me remember what it was like to be have those childlike qualities, and it helped me realize why it is so important to be as a child. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my mom and I found myself falling into Debby Downer mode! Lets’s just say I was sadly being a little melodramatic. My Mom looked at me and said “This isn’t the Anna I know.” She continued to tell me how growing up I was always the happiest little girl. She told me a story that I thought was absolutely precious! When I a couple of years old I was really sick and I had frequent trips to the Emergency Room, but after every time I didn’t complain about the pain I told my parents “I am so thankful for the doctors that make me feel better!” The amazing thing is I don’t remember all of the times I was sick or had to go to the Hospital, but I do remember just being genuinely happy.I was not forcing myself to be happy, but letting myself freely express gratitude. When my Mom shared this story with me it helped me see my life in a new light. My childhood self-taught me how to be happy. Happiness isn’t something we force. We first have to live after the manner of happiness. When we are striving to be thankful, looking at the bright side, taking care of the hard things, and letting our Savior help us with our burdens that is when we are truly happy.
Here is a quote from Elder Holland talk Living After the Manner of Happiness:
Happiness is almost always a by-product of some other endeavor. One of my favorite writers from my university days said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”3
When I took a step back and looked at what it was like to be as a child I was able to learn what it is like to be truly happy. In an essence I was able to learn from my child self that happiness is something that is created by our decisions and willingness to live after the manner of happiness.
I saw this quote from Henry B. Eyring in his talk As a Child and it really summed up my thoughts! It states:
“…to be like a child is not to be childish. It is to be like the Savior, who prayed to His Father for strength to be able to do His will and then did it. Our natures must be changed to become as a child to gain the strength we must have to be safe in the times of moral peril.”
To me it is very remarkable that when we are asked to be like a child it does not mean to be childish. It actually means to be able to have strength to have been humble, meek, loving, and being willing to ask help from our Father in Heaven. That is what is going to make us strong in the long run.