Child’s Play

Megan - Gurnee, Illinois
Entered on March 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When I was little, my biggest concern in life was how long my mom would take to get ready before she would take me to the park. I didn’t worry about who I would play with once I got there, as long as I got there. I knew that I would have plenty of playmates no matter who the kids were.

Little kids are cool that way. They judge, but it is on a more personal level. Kids critique others based on who likes to play the same kind of games as them, or who can keep up in a game of tag. Personally, I was best friends with anyone who was nice and could ride their bike around the neighborhood with me.

Somewhere along the way, we lose that open-mindedness and simple judge of character. We stop thinking like little kids and start to judge others differently. Adults cannot simply look at a person and start a conversation; there is a specific thought process. Do they look like me? Do they sound like me? Where may they have come from? These questions and more unconsciously stroll through our mind as quickly wind passing through the trees. It isn’t necessarily wrong, but it makes life a lot less personal and a lot less fun. With so many different options and different types of people, it seems so senseless to limit ourselves to so few of those options. I can’t say that I have never been guilty of thinking like an adult, but I often try to savor at least some of my childhood mindset.

I was in class one day when a picture of my boyfriend and I fell out of my notebook. My boyfriend is black, and it just so happened that the girl who picked up the photograph was also black. As she handed the picture back to me she declared, in somewhat of a light hearted manner, “I am so tired of you white girls stealing our single black men!” I wasn’t so much offended, as I was surprised. Had I really done something wrong by being with someone of another race? For feeling something as natural and involuntary as love? If someone had approached me as a child and told me not to play with someone because he or she didn’t look like me, I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend the words. I couldn’t have made the connection between looks and one’s ability to play.

When that girl uttered those words to me it made me realize how cynical and judgmental we can become if we allow it. It made me think that maybe on the playground of life; we should borrow some insight from some of our younger fellow beings and think a little bit more like them. That is what I believe.