1) Waking up - Unless you were a very unique little kid, you were bright eyed and bushy tailed long before anyone else in the house wanted to get out of bed. You didn't even need an alarm clock. Plus, when you got up you were AWAKE not just shuffling around trying to catch a nap between blinks.
2) Decision making - You were absolutely certain of what you wanted to eat, wear, be around, and do at any given moment. There was no waffling. Sure, you might change your mind if things weren't going how you wanted but once you changed your mind you would set the new course in action. You would not sit and worry about how to do it. You would simply move on and do the new thing.
3) Work - You knew the secret to work too. Whether you were helping to make breakfast, cleaning up your toys, or working on important preschool papers, you threw yourself fully into the activity. If you hated the work, you left it and found something that made you feel satisfied. Being pulled away from a "job" that you enjoyed was terrible!
4) Friends - Three year olds don't have friends who treat them badly. They only choose to be with peers that they enjoy.
5) Repercussions - It may take a time or two, but three year olds understand that when something causes you pain or unpleasantness, you should not do it. They understand that if they take someone else's crayon, that other kid is going to get upset and there will be problems. They understand that if they do the same thing that got them in trouble again, the punishment may be worse this time around. Boundary stretching starts in earnest at this age and they begin deciding what is important enough to knowingly do even through they will be punished. Please note: I said "important enough". A three year old is great at knowing what is worth (to them) a hand slap and what not to bother doing.
6) Helping - Three year olds are awesome do it yourself types. They are fairly certain that they can do anything they set their little minds to doing. They are also really good at asking for help when they suddenly realize they need it. What is best is that they are able to help someone else out without causing anyone to feel that the other person is incapable. They just simply lend a hand in the same way that they expect a hand to be lent to them when needed.
7) Knowing when enough is enough - Sure, they may show that they are over their limit of stimulation with a nice big tantrum, but if you watch a little kid there are always signs that they realize they should leave the situation before that tantrum happens. Typically they will ask repeatedly or become clingy (or hide) quite a while before the big blow up. They don't have the ability to remove themselves so they have to rely on someone else to take them away. If they could just leave, my guess is that they would.
8) Being careful - I'm not talking about being cautious. I'm saying "use care". Young kids employ care for classmates with boo-boos and parents who have had a bad day. They care for the feelings of stuffed animals and for grandparents. They typically use care until they completely run out (see #7) and have to refill with snuggling. They are even pretty awesome at being careful with themselves. That is why you hear "no" so often out of them.
Sure, it may sound simplistic. It isn't foolproof and it doesn't cover all of the aspects of adulthood. You may be shaking your head and thinking that I'm making light of being an adult. Then again, maybe we all should make that state a bit lighter. If we're lucky, we're in it for a long, long time! Your three year old self would agree. Try it for one day. When being an adult feels too heavy or hard, ask yourself what you would have done when you were three. If nothing else, the thought should make you smile!
I'm off to stack firewood with abandon. Throwing myself into this job makes me tired and icky but it also makes me stronger and gives me a great sense of accomplishment with the future perk of being warm all winter! It's too bad my tiara won't stay on while I stack. My three year old self would have loved that!
Have a wonder filled week!