5 simple things my 5-year-old friends have taught me
It’s nice to have a 5-year-old friend.
They keep it real.
They keep you real.
They keep perspective real.
They keep life real.
They are just real.
Those are not the 5 things I have learned, but those are 5 things I appreciate about my five-year-old friends. The word “real”, is a word that unfortunately, many of us grow into doubting as we become older—especially in today’s time of social media, filters, edits, captions, make up, and just your old fashioned two-faced friend. How do you know what is real and what is not? There is this hunger and craving for authenticity, but also a massive fear of being authentic, of showing our true selves.
Recently, I have been able to be home a little more which has given me more time to hang with my 5-year-old friends. They have purified my perspective and taken me back to the simplicity of being a friend, and the value of just being real. So, I came up with 5 little sayings and lessons that they have me soaking on lately. I hope these take you back to when you were young and ready to conquer the world. These things alone may not conquer the world, but I do believe getting back to these 5 simple ways of looking at life could in fact make the world a much better place.
1. Never stop a moment to snap a picture, because you might just make the moment stop by trying to capture it in a shot.
The other day, we were all at the house, and these two cuties asked me to play with them. We started to pretend that we were worship leaders. Both of their parents are worship leaders, so that is a pretty common little game we play. It is just so stinking cute! Of course, the first thing you want to do is pull out your phone and take a video…but as soon as someone pulled out a phone, my little buddy said these words that actually convicted me, “No, we are not supposed to take pictures we are just supposed to sing.” WE. ARE. JUST. SUPPOSED. TO. SING.
There is so much freedom in living in the moment. Why do we have to stop moments to snap a picture? Sometimes by doing that, we actually miss the essence of the moment, and we forget to sing. There are some friends I have more pictures with than memories. These 5-year-old kids and I have hundreds of memories together, and only one picture—that happened to be captured in a single moment of them both running into my arms for a big group hug. I love this picture because it wasn’t planned, staged, stopped or filtered, because the moment could not have gotten any better. It was a priceless moment captured in action. These kids don’t need a picture to capture the moment they just live in it.
I love taking pictures, and come from a family of photographers, so I’m not hating on pictures. This is just a reminder to not let the picture taking rob you of life’s precious moments. Nowadays, we tend to take a picture just for show, instead of taking picture to cherish a memory. Let’s remember that what we are really supposed to do is just sing.
2. Surround yourself with laughter and the people you love, and your day will be a good one.
We had a sleep-over the other day, and it was one of the most priceless nights. We had two beds in the room. I was in one of the beds, and these 2 munchkins were in the other. At 12:45 a.m., one of them popped her head up with wide eyes and sweetly said, “Sadie, will you come sleep in the middle of us?” How could I say no to those eyes?!? I crawled in the middle of the two cuties and went to sleep. Two hours later, I was awoken by giggles of pure excitement. They couldn’t contain their joy that we were snuggling in bed together. They dozed off eventually, but two hours later they woke up again and said, “Sadie, why is the night taking so long to be over? I’m ready to play.” I held them off till 3:45a.m., but their excitement was real. So, I woke up long before the sun came up and snuggled and watched a movie, and it was one of the best mornings ever at 3:45 am. To be honest, I had a bad day before and was pretty upset over some things, and had planned to just sleep the day away. But here’s the thing, sleeping the day away will not make your bad day good—but waking up, surrounding yourself with good people, being expectant of a good day, and just simply giggling at the pure joy of being alive, may in fact make your bad day turn good.
3. Let someone know how happy you are to see them. You may just make their day!
They laugh, dance, sing, draw, create and play. They give the biggest hugs. They welcome you with excitement, which always makes you feel so loved and appreciated. One of my favorite moments in life, that literally makes me smile just typing this, is when my little cousin Judson or my little friend Cruce sees me and screams, “Sadieeeee!” and runs, arms wide open, to give me the biggest hug. They appreciate the moments in life we sometimes forget to appreciate as we grow older. The little moments are the ones to enjoy, but sometimes we are too stressed trying to get to the big moments in life that we let things slip by—like seeing someone that you love, that you haven’t seen in a while, pass right on by without much fanfare. They actually bring joy into the moments just by their little positive spirits, big smiles and random giggles. They give big hugs just because big hugs are fun, and they make you feel good. Maybe its time we all just start shouting each other’s names and going in for the hug, because we are excited to see someone we love and want them to know it.
4. See people for who they are, because we are all just humans.
When I am with my little 5-year-old buddies, whether we’re at home or out and about, I try to be really engaged with them. I want them to know much I love them and want to build a relationship with them. So, if you ever see me in public with them, you may see me doing an epic handshake with this little dude after a touchdown on his favorite football game on my phone, or role-playing with this little beauty, because she likes to play “Sadie”, so she can use my lip gloss. Or, I may be in the process of wiping the numerous boogers off of me (they think is the funniest thing in the world to put them on me!)
Often times when we are out, and sometimes in the middle of our game or silly little conversations, someone will interrupt to come ask to take a photo with me. The look they get on their little faces every time someone asks to take a picture has always stuck out to me. It is pure confusion. They do not understand why people would do this. They literally ask, “Why are they taking a picture with Sadie?” Their little minds are on our game. Our conversations. They wonder, “What happened to the booger I just wiped on her?” They just see me as me, so why would someone who doesn’t know me come take a picture with me? Sometimes, I feel like in a world of celebrities and Instagram followers, people look at people with wider eyes the more followers they have. They treat you a little differently, and look at you a whole lot differently when in reality, as my friend Jordan Dooley says, “We all fart,” ha! We are all human. That is something I appreciate about my 5-year-old friends–they see all people as human, and determine their friendship with them based off of who is willing to play a game. If you’re nice and are cool with boogers, then you are a friend. If you are mean and do not know how to laugh at yourself, you’re probably not going to be their friend. It’s a good little criteria. We are all just human. Be nice, be willing to play, and if you get boogers on your sweater, just laugh and wipe them off.
5. Surround yourself with cheerleaders, for they will cheer you on to be the best version of yourself.
Studies have shown that by 5 years old, much of who you are is already programmed in you. This makes a lot of sense to me. When I was five, I got up on a table and started preaching to my parents. There is a video of it on Youtube, because during my preaching as a 5-year-old little girl living in the woods of Calhoun, Louisiana, I said something very strange. I said, “Even if I am famous one day, I will not think about myself, but I am giving it to God.” Then I continued on to sing a little jingle I had made up entitled, “Let’s Give it up for God,” followed by “Woohoo,” and an epic toe-touch. I preached the truth I knew, unafraid and unashamed. I was just simply in love with who God was and I spoke a simple truth.
Of course, as you all know my story when Duck Dynasty started, I began being asked to speak, and fear gripped me. I said no to most offers. I put so much stress on myself trying to come up with a message. I feared what people thought. I wondered if I would have enough material to fill twenty minutes, if I was even qualified to be on a stage speaking. Somewhere along the way, I welcomed in other voices, because when I was 5 I had confidently climbed up our coffee table (my stage), and spoke loudly and boldly about the truth I knew and the love I had for God. At that time, if they had given me a 10-minute timer, someone would have had to carry me off the stage. When I was with my little buddies the other day, we were playing worship leaders and they were singing at the top of their lungs about their love for God, I just stopped for a minute to pray that sense of freedom in worship never ends for them. That fear would have no authority over their lives to take away their worship. That words of shame would never be spoken over them to silence their voice—but if words of the world are spoken, they would have their shield of faith up to defend any arrow thrown their way. That they would protect their ears to the voices they allow in. That their worship would silence their enemies.
I believe when we are five, the reason we are often times and weirdly our best and most fun self, is partly because of our childlike manner. But, I also think our confidence and freedom comes from the voices around us, and our parent’s protection over who is allowed to speak into our lives. We have voices of encouragement, voices of truth—voices telling us we are enough, voices tell us that we are beautiful just as we are, voices tell us how loved we are, voices telling us how to be strong when we feel weak or hurt, voices bringing out our originality, and voices disciplining us out of love.
Parents protect our ears, by guarding the voices that speak into our lives when we are five…but there comes a point in life where we have to begin to do this for ourselves. We have to learn to guard our hearts, guard our ears, guard our eyes, and you can’t let the world take away the things that really make you, you. Because what makes you, you, is what makes you real.
We have a lot to learn from 5-year-olds. I hope these 5 simple truths make your day a little brighter, make you think a little bit, and maybe even take you back to a time when life was simpler.
“Jesus called a little child to him and placed the child among them and he said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:2-4