I believe that little kids are awesome.
When I was about two years old, my dear grandfather decided it would be a good idea to accelerate my creative development. While his intentions were for the best, the manner in which he chose to accelerate said development was rather unorthodox. He purchased stacks upon stacks of paper and a pair of high-quality, stainless steel scissors. I had a grand time chopping clean white paper into tiny confetti-like pieces and scattering them throughout the house, allowing my parents to deal with my creative talents at a later time. Although messy, this was harmless enough. But eventually, I became bored with plain white paper. Surely, I thought, with my recently acquired walking skill and a little help from inanimate objects, I could find more interesting things to destroy. And so I did. Letters, toilet paper, ribbon, expensive stationery, hair, credit cards, business cards, my father’s checkbook and uncashed checks – all fell victim to my blades of fury. My parents were not amused, but neither did they squelch my enthusiastic foray into the world of art.
With paper mastered, my next creative phase was somewhat stickier. My grandfather generously supplied me with dozens of rolls of scotch tape, purchased in bulk from Costco. Before long, the walls, doorways, doorknobs, refrigerator, floors, desks, chairs, the inside of the toilet, and both of our cats were thoroughly coated in layers of tape. Once again, my parents were left the task of removing my marvelous handiwork.
I reached the peak of my paper-and-tape career when I was seven years old. A friend of my father’s was visiting and planning to stay the night. I wanted to give this friend a gift, and my little brain churned with possibilities. What could this dignified personage use that I could provide? After a session of thoughtful pondering, I came up with the perfect solution. He must need pajamas! But how to create a pair of functional pajamas with the materials I had on hand? My choices were limited to construction paper, yellow lined paper, staples, and tape. The construction paper was thicker than the yellow lined, and it was a warm night, so clearly the yellow lined would be lighter and thus more comfortable. Staples were hard and scratchy, thus, tape would be best. And so, I took my yellow lined paper and my roll of scotch tape, plopped down on the tile floor, and carefully created my masterpiece: a pair of yellow-lined paper pajamas. My father’s friend still has them – although I doubt he wears them often!
This I believe: That wonderful are the minds of children, that originality shines before we begin to care about what other people think, and that kids in general are pretty darn awesome.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.