“All children are born artists; the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso.

I drove by a couple of kids playing in a rain-soaked farmer’s field the other day. They were filthy from head to toe. It was wonderful. I had to turn the car around and get a closer look. Their Grandmother sat in a bag chair nearby watching them. She was grinning from ear to ear as the shirtless boys got running starts, belly flopped into the puddles, and gave each other mud facials.

I remember that feeling—the innocence and simplicity of childhood.

Kids just jump.

Have you heard the story of the little girl in art class? Her mother said she hardly ever paid attention in class. But on this particular day, she did. The assignment was simple: draw whatever you want. The little girl went right to work. Her tongue was sticking out as she concentrated heavily on her paper. The teacher was fascinated, so she asked her what she was drawing. “I’m drawing a picture God,” the little girl said. “But nobody knows what God looks like,” the teacher told her. The girl looked up from her paper and confidently replied, “They will in a minute.”

It’s a funny story. And it illustrates what we lose as we grow into adulthood—the risk of being wrong. Kids don’t care. They shrug it off. Adults and our egos choose to carry every misstep, every wrong direction and every mistake. We can’t jump. We’re too weighted down. And the longer we carry these things the less like children we become.

The Slow Death of Curiosity

It turns out it wasn’t the cat that killed curiosity; it was us. Studies tell us children ask roughly 100 questions per day. Adults ask about six. We’re afraid to be wrong, we’re offended by correction and we’re terrified of what people might think of us. With every birthday, we drive our knives into curiosity a little bit deeper.

Your Choice

We really do complicate our own lives, don’t we? We can literally choose to stop doing what doesn’t work and instead do what does.

What would happen if you chose to be more like the little girl drawing God?

What if you asked more questions and risked being wrong?

What if the elusive fountain of youth is really just a mud puddle in a farmer’s field?