Write Into Life

For any life strategy, ask a child

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