I’ll admit it. I’ve never been a kid-lover. It’s awful I know. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind kids before but I’ve never had that strong desire to be around them the way some people are. When a baby cried, I’d cringe.
But I’ve changed.
Now I am a total, die hard, can’t stop smiling kid-lover. At least when it comes to my two little cousins. I’ve never seen two happier children and when I’m around them, I love how their laughter and smiles are immediately contagious. If there’s anyway to get happy within a matter of seconds, surrounding yourself with kids you love is the way to do it.
I know I’ve been slow to come onboard as many of you have already caught on to the magic of kids. So many of us surround ourselves with them here at UCLA, whether it’s through mentoring programs, Unicamp, or the Pediatric Aids Coalition. Once you’ve seen their natural laughter, their smile that lights up a room, and their happy go lucky spirit that seems to overcome so many obstacles, you can’t help but be inspired.
I think children can really teach us a fundamental lesson about happiness. After swimming in the pool with my two cousins yesterday and seeing how happy it made them, I realized that kids really value the little things in life. Just going for a swim truly made their day. And a good piece of chocolate? They couldn’t be happier, even at two years old. (Mind you, they’re not too happy when their mom doesn’t let them eat the whole bar).
And with this natural happiness that children have, they add so much happiness to our lives. There is nothing like a child reaching out their arms to you, wanting a big hug. Especially when kids get to the age when they recognize you and want to be with you, there’s nothing like it. I love my little cousins so much—I always know our family is in for a good time when they’re around.
I’m still not gung-ho on having babies—that won’t happen for a long, long time. But I’m definitely making progress when it comes to being around them. Whether you are naturally drawn to children or you’re a little more hesitant as I was before, I think it’s practically impossible to not be happy when you’re around a happy child. They truly do see life with rose-colored glasses—it doesn’t take much to bring a smile on their face.
So keep the kids in mind this week. If kids can laugh and smile so much, why can’t we? Little kids notice the little things—so should we. A good swim, a little chocolate—what’s not to love?
May we take pride in our lives, realize the power of our dreams, and celebrate happiness today and every day!
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook