I was having lunch in a cafe today and as I glanced out of the window, a little boy who couldn't have been more than 4 years old smiled and waved at me - it was sweet and natural, there was absolutely no hesitation on his part. I instinctively smiled and waved back.
I remember when Martha was about age 3 asking loudly on the London Underground 'why is nobody talking'. People started to snigger and look bemused at this audacious toddler, who without realising was pointing out the strange social conditioning we've become accustomed to, rather than going with our natural humanity.
I'm interested as to when we lose that natural curiosity about others, or perhaps we don't lose our curiosity and it's more about allowing the social norms to overpower our instincts.
I know we can't go around in life like the character from the film Elf as we don't live in a snowglobe, but the sweet simplicity of his character and in the gesture of the little boy I saw today, really helps us to return, albeit momentarily, to our true nature.
Three rules I've come up with for my life are to learn to have:-
1. the optimism of a dog
2. the curiosity of a toddler
3. the wisdom of an elder (eventually).