“What is the Difference Between Adults and Children?

Adults are taller!”

By Donna J Spina, ACC, CPC, ELI-MP

dont-panic-note-means-no-panicking-or-relaxing_fJz7zHwuIn the course of my adult life, both professionally and personally, I have coined this quote and found it to be true over and over again.

As children, we were taught to play nice in the sand box.  In reality, it was not all of the time. Do you remember what it felt like to have sand thrown in your face?  It burned and blinded your eyes and was tough to get all that grittiness out of your mouth.

How about when it was YOUR turn to use the shovel? Can you visualize the intense physical struggle from a tug of war of little hands grasping firmly with loud shouts of “No! It’s mine!”  being yelled into the air?  Someone inevitably gets hurt and tears start. Then the finger pointing began.  “It’s his/her fault!” or “I’m telling Mommy/Daddy!”.

When about five years old,  I became fearful to enter my bedroom in the dark. I held onto the door frame to launch myself the short distance to the bed. It served the purpose of protecting my vulnerable feet and ankles from getting too close to the space under it.  Why?  I believed a monster of sorts lived there at night. I anticipated its long arm extending out to pull me into the dark unknown from which I would not be able to escape.  It never dawned on me to ask my parents for assistance or to even turn on the lamp.  Kids do “know” that scary creatures disappear in the Light.  My childlike imagination held me back from finding a more comforting, empowering solution.

Can you describe an event or situation in your adult life that felt like sand was being thrown into your eyes?  What taste lingered in your mouth and for how long? When did you feel the extreme need to protect yourself, your property, or territory?  What methods did you use?  When do you doubt yourself? How often?

Do you reach out to others for help?  If not, why not?  Could that have been my future Boss under the bed? Is your heart starting to race a little now? Case and point.

Fear has taken on a different persona in adulthood.  It is easier to succumb to our challenges than to enlist intestinal fortitude to charge our courage and attack what truly matters head on. What frightening creature is holding you back from taking that next step into the Unknown for your Career or Life? When and where does that Gremlin show up and with what intensity? Do you look under the bed first and then vacuum around it?

Try playing this Adult vs. Child Visualization Game yourself when in a Board Meeting or around a table of adults.  Shrink all the other people down to what could be labeled as the average size of a 7 or 8 year old kid.  Observe what happens, especially in a disagreement, in spite of the more sophisticated vocabulary.

The next time you attend a reunion of any type and someone says to you, “Gosh, you have not changed a bit!”. Ponder this. Is our adult height just an illusion of that shorter person from so many years ago? If the answer is “Ouch!” then it’s time to grow your inner self to be in alignment with your outer height.   Remember my quote and be the Bigger Person, for real.