Kids have more to teach us than Grown-ups ever have
I have always been and will always be a kid at heart. Even though I am now officially a “big kid” with responsibilities, bills, and deadlines, I still enjoy running around in circles and playing with school supplies. I see it as a blessing and understand kids in a way that few adults do – on their terms and not on our terms. When my friends’ kids ask me to play with Lego’s, it makes perfect sense to have the Lego trucks race (and of course the truck with two propellers wins). When I’m with kids the world narrows; it becomes simple again. All that matters is what we are doing. All that is important is how to draw a dinosaur with the correct tail or how to make the blocks fit together just right to make a street. I don’t think about what my plans for tomorrow are or what appointments I need to make. We are just a couple of kids doing our thing.
It’s easy to forget that kids can teach us something. We are used to thinking that children need to be taught. We are used to equating higher education with intelligence, but children can teach us things we have unlearned or things that we have been too busy to remember. Most bad days are made better by some play-time and perhaps chocolate milk. They can help us remember that time is relative – the less you worry about it the more you seem to have. When kids ask us to play with them, it is because they honestly want to share their time with us. It is a compliment to be invited into their world, to be allowed into the workings of their private thoughts. How many adults do I run into every day who say hello, grab my hand and explain their views and ask my own? How many invite me to share their favorite possession in the trusting sort of way kids do, with the knowledge that I won’t try to break it or take it away?
I believe that if we all learned more from children, took time out to look at their actions, to travel into their worlds, then maybe we would be a little happier in our own lives. I believe that the little things are often more important than the big things. At the end of a busy week, I remember and value the Lego races over my clean house or completed assignments every time.
Many people have read the poster that often hangs in elementary schools: “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten.” Cheesy as it may be, it makes a good point. Most people don’t have time for swing sets and blocks, but at least there can be time for saying hello to strangers, asking them their names, and if they like Lego’s (or stocks or whatever their toy of choice may be).
I think it is important to take some time out of the “grown-up” life and be a kid again. Maybe if we did not take ourselves so seriously all the time we wouldn’t be so stressed out. Sometimes I get caught up in my own concerns, and I forget that small things can be so important. Then I simply take a moment and doodle on a page or make silly arrangements with sugar packets and utensils. Sure the people around me are questioning my sanity, but kids never notice rude looks, so why should I?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.