What we can learn from children

What we can learn from children

Children playingI was enthralled by a presentation that Chris Collison gave at the recent KIN Autumn Workshop. The theme was “learning from children”. For those that have them, or for anyone who has taken the time to observe them, they will know that children have a refreshing directness when it comes to relationships, sharing or collaboration. Unencumbered from business protocols, corporate hierarchies and other conformist behaviours, they say what they think, and act instinctively.

But I wonder how much of this child-like behaviour is hard-wired into our personas? Do we all behave a bit like children in the way that we share and collaborate? See what you think:

Parsons’ Toddler Property Laws

  • If I like it it’s mine
  • If it’s in my hand it’s mine
  • If I can take it from you it’s mine
  • If I had it a little while ago it’s mine
  • If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way
  • If I am doing or building something, all the pieces are mine
  • If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

Rob Parsons, Director of “Care for the Family

Davenport’s Kindergarten Rationale

  • You share with the friends you trust
  • You share when you’re sure you will get something in return
  • Your toys are more special than anyone else’s
  • You share when the teacher tells you to, until she turns her back
  • When toys are scarce, there’s less sharing
  • Once yours get taken, you never share again

Tom Davenport, Author of “Working Knowledge



2 thoughts on “What we can learn from children

  1. Nice post, Steve. I wrote about this topic some time ago.. It’s nice to see we have related topics we think about. I think this is a very important topic.
    I have two kids. One is 5 and the other is 3. I find it fascinating how they develop and learn. By looking at them I also learn to be more child-like (not child-ish). The youngest is asking ‘why’ all the time. This can be irritating… But it’s also very nice. It reminds me to ask ‘why’ more often. What also struck me is that ‘why’ continues the conversation. He’s always asking why and then I say something back and he asks why again, etc. It’s great fun… 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment Samuel – and the lonk to your article. I’ve just posted this on your blog:

    “Great article Samuel. If we did bring more ‘childlike’ behaviour into our professional lives, we’d see more honesty, transparency and trust emerge. I sometimes wonder if there is an inverse relationship between trust and experience, i.e. the more experience we gain, the less we trust. Children – on the whole – are very trusting. Let’s learn from them!”

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