For any life strategy, ask a child

Row of Barbies ready to kill zombies with a sneer

Row of vintage Barbies preparing to kill zombies with a sneer.

Listen to the little children in your life! They may not have all the “facts”, as we adults understand them. Regardless, they manage to decode our strange world and generate workable rules of behaviour. When we really hear what they say, they astonish with their wisdom and practical advice.

The everyday struggle with everyday problems

When I agreed to mind Elsie after school on Wednesdays, I had no idea what lay ahead.

Like you, I have problems—life isn’t easy, is it? Like you, I struggle with everyday challenges such as career changes, emergency first aid, work-life balance, and zombies coming up the toilet. Even at my advanced age, such problems never go away.

Enter my life coach: Elsie aged five

Imagine my surprise when Elsie seemed to have all the answers! From the age of five, she could offer sound advice for virtually any problem. Obviously I had more experience of life. But when it came to strategy, Elsie was my guru. She was a thinker, a lateral blue skies analytical creative left-and-right-brain thinker who didn’t even know there was a square outside of which one ought to think. (Still is.)

She became my life coach. I jotted down all her tips as poems, for easier recall. After about three years I stopped, because she had already delivered a comprehensive manual for a healthy happy life. When you know how to act cool and how to vote, when you understand market forces and the principles of law and order, like Elsie you will have nothing left to learn.

One example of an Elsie strategy

Advanced self-defence

If a zombie comes up the toilet
you can whisk off and fight it,
because you know the steps.

Put some Barbie dolls in a row
because zombies hate Barbie dolls.
They’re afraid they’ll chomp them.

You can also shine a light at zombies.
It injects them
and they die.

See what I mean? How can you go wrong with advice like that?

All my problems are sorted now

Since then, I have internalised most of Elsie’s strategies. As a result, I have become quite competent at thinking, sleeping, remembering, breathing, and having a wee rest. Now that my life is perfect, I plan to share this manual with a wider human audience. (Elsie’s Book of Strategies will be published in late 2018.)

Elsie has fixed my life. But you also have a little child in your family or your circle of friends. In a crisis, make that child your first port of call. They love to help, you know…

Photo by RomitaGirl67 CC BY 2.0

23 thoughts on “For any life strategy, ask a child

  1. Aunt Beulah says:

    I’m looking forward to the book. I like Elsie already. As an elementary teacher, I had lots of Elsie’s to inform me. I was thinking about one on Martin Luther King Day. Kelly was a raucous, happy 4th grade boy. When we studied segregation in the South and he read that black citizens could not drink out of the water fountains used by whites, he exclaimed, “That’s not right. And it’s dumb. What the heck. Spit’s spit.”

    1. What a stunning story! More please!

  2. Val says:

    I’ve never (yet) had a problem with zombies coming up the loo, but if I ever do, I’ll bear Elsie’s advice in mind! 🙂

    Not only little children we know, but our inner children have wisdom, too. 🙂

    1. Oh yes, that inner child needs our constant attention.

  3. Looking forward to more of Elsie’s wisdom!

    1. Happy to share.

  4. Too funny! 😋

  5. Go Grandma says:

    Oh goodness – I’m excited for Elsie’s book of wisdom.

  6. lifecameos says:

    They know it all ! the eight year old and six year old sisters recently joined forces one late December afternoon to convince me to allow them to watch a DVD while their mother was out shopping. Their mother and I are in agreement that children need to be doing, with only the occasional DVD. Their strategy was very transparent, but thorough !

    1. Fascinating. Wish I had been a fly on the wall.

      1. lifecameos says:

        It was funny !

  7. lynnefisher says:

    Loving this idea! Goes with the idea of reconnecting to our inner child. Best of luck with ‘Elsie’s book of Strategies’ :))

  8. Delightful and yes, they are full of gems. How exciting about the book! Does Elsie know?

    1. Oh yes: I wouldn’t ppublish without her permission! She is 14 now and amused not embarrassed.

  9. cedar51 says:

    well Kevin next door might have been of those children but since he got to adult hood, the 20s – he has certainly got a different attitude. Anything that isn’t in his framework, particularly something that is the new way – isn’t right. I have spent the last weeks, daily at home (I’m mostly here) whilst Kevin (& other family at work) – taking the info provided by the contractors and passing on said info!

    [this is a whole long saga, that I suspect would bore you all to tears…]

    1. Sounds like a short story on the way.

  10. toutparmoi says:

    Now I’m wondering that if I restrict myself to chomping nothing other than zombies, will I regain a waist like Barbie’s?

    1. I reckon so, because zombies are dead meat— not nourishing.

  11. Robyn Haynes says:

    I am in awe at the wisdom of little children. And it’s delivered with such aplomb making me feel it’s something I should have known. I’ve taken notes on the zombie strategy. One never knows …

    1. Yes, the aplomb, the certainty! Glad to have helped.

  12. cindy knoke says:

    So true. We dumb down as we grow up!

    1. Alas, you are right. Let’s keep it simple.

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