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10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

It’s difficult not to look at the state of the world today and feel despair. That’s probably one of the many reasons why the photo blog Humans of New York has become wildly popular — photographer Brandon Stanton gleans bits of regular people’s lives, providing a glimpse into the dreams they have and the challenges they’ve overcome. In these images of strangers, we find comfort in our shared humanity. The posts from kids are often especially poignant: The world will soon be in their hands, and it’s heartening to hear what they have to say. Here are 10 of the many hopes grown-ups can find in the little humans of New York.

1. Compassion

“If you could change one thing about adults, what would it be?”
“I’d give them more money.”
“More money?”
“Yeah. Some of them don’t even have money to buy food.”

Humans of New York

    Recognize others’ basic rights. Before you turn to judgment, or thinking about whether someone deserves help, think about how you would feel if you were in their situation. We all need help sometimes.

    2. Gratitude

    “Mom took care of me when I was sick so I wrote her a card but the teacher was too busy to help me spell it so I wrote a picture instead.”

    Humans of New York

      Be thankful for what you have. Take the time to acknowledge the acts of service, both great and small, that others do for you. Give to others, and express your thanks when others give to you.

      3. Mindfulness

      “I don’t understand my feelings. Sometimes I feel sad and I don’t know why. Then sometimes I feel silly, and I don’t know why either. Now I feel ‘wow,’ because this is my very first interview.”

      Humans of New York

        Own your feelings, and acknowledge them. If you have negative thoughts about a problem you can’t fix, practice letting go of them. When you feel joy, embrace it. Feelings aren’t objectively right or wrong — you choose how you manage them.

        4. Respect

        “I found a ladybug, a beetle, and a little tiny bug that I don’t know.”
        “So what advice would you give to other bug collectors?”
        “You have to be really focused and find a rock that is big but not too big and you lift it up and if there’s not any bugs you put it back down. But if there is a bug and you like it, you put it in your bug jar. But if you don’t like it you put it back and put the rock back down.”

        Humans of New York

          Even the most humble of creatures deserves basic respect. Be a steward of the earth. Get out into nature and explore, because you never know what might be beneath that next rock.

          5. Dedication

          “What was the happiest moment of your life?”
          “When Mr. Carson helps me with my writing.”
          “What’s the hardest part about writing?”
          “The spaces and the dents and you have to start with a capital. But if you do a good job Mr. Carson lets you play with toys.”

          Humans of New York

            Don’t expect yourself to perfect. Remember that practice makes better. When you’re faced with a difficult task, stick with it. The satisfaction of mastery is a reward in itself.

            6. Altruism

            “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
            “A police officer.”
            “What’s the hardest part about being a police officer?”
            “Saving people.”

            Humans of New York

              Helping someone else is one of the best things you can do in life. You don’t need to be a superhero; just be attuned to the needs of those around you. You can call it good karma, you can call it paying it forward. Either way, being of service to others puts more positive energy into the world.

              7. Enthusiasm

              Normally I have to approach people for quotes. But this kid walked right up to me, held his certificate in the air, and screamed: “I played at Carnegie Hall!”

              Humans of New York

                Take pride in your accomplishments. No one can take them away from you. You should never hide your talents from the world. You can make the world a better place by sharing your abilities.

                8. Practicality

                “I’m going to be an artist.”
                “Do you have any advice for other artists?”
                “Don’t press down too hard with your crayons.”

                Humans of New York

                  When you’re trying something new, it’s worthwhile to sweat the small stuff. Give yourself time to practice and learn. Don’t become angry with yourself if you aren’t improving as quickly as you wanted. If you keep working, you will get to where you want to go.

                  9. Aspiration

                  “I listened to my teacher and went beyond and above.”

                  Humans of New York

                    Always aim high. Work from the assumption that you can do it. Even if you try something and fail, you can learn much more from your failure than from not having tried at all.

                    10. Love

                    I photographed the little guy on the left because he was carrying a violin. During the post photo interview, his little brother kept chiming in with his own answers. It was clear that he wanted to be part of the process. After a few questions, the older one called to his brother: ‘Come be in my picture, Riley.’

                    Humans of New York

                      Sharing your life with others makes your life infinitely richer. Family and friends are some of the most important gifts we receive in life. Honoring those relationships strengthens your bonds, and helps everybody feel more connected.

                      Featured photo credit: Brandon Stanton via humansofnewyork.com

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                      Last Updated on December 3, 2019

                      10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

                      10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

                      There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

                      Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

                      1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

                      Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

                      There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

                      Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

                      2. Pace Yourself

                      Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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                      Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

                      Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

                      3. You Can’t Please Everyone

                      “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

                      You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

                      Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

                      4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

                      Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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                      We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

                      Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

                      5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

                      “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

                      No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

                      We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

                      6. It’s Not All About You

                      You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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                      It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

                      7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

                      No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

                      We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

                      Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

                      8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

                      That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

                      Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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                      Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

                      9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

                      Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

                      The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

                      10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

                      We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

                      When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

                      Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

                      This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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                      Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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