I believe in piggy-tails and barrettes. I believe in the culinary skills of making mud pies and backyard soup. I believe in bare feet, fresh cut grass, and lemonade. I believe that climbing a tree, despite scraped knees and sap covered fingers, is the only way to be on top of the world. I believe that fingernails were meant to be painted in every color of the rainbow, and that your best friend should always be there to paint your right hand. I believe in kick-the-can, tag, kick-ball, and catch. I believe in pirate ships, damsels in distress, and happy endings. I believe that singing is acceptable in every public situation and that lyrics to these songs should be comprised of every form of inane silliness. I believe that super-hero costumes are really the only thing one should wear to any event. I believe that every little girl is a princess and that every little boy’s cheeks should be smudged with dirt.
Yes, I believe in letting kids be kids. This semester I am enrolled in a human development class at a junior college, and have learned about the needs and wants of the developing person. Yes, children absolutely need the brain stimulation that school gives them, but they also need to expand their imagination by exploring and playing make-believe. By doing this, children learn about the world and everything in it. Some of my best memories are of when I was in the back-yard as a kid with my dad. I would help him in the garden, collect bugs, build lake-side cities with my brother in the sand-box, and jump on the trampoline. Video games and television are no substitution for defending a tree-house castle form “bad guys”, or getting ready for the ball by dressing up like Cinderella and Snow White.
There are so many different factors that can influence a young child, and these factors will influence who that child will eventually grow up to become. I am especially concerned for young kids when I hear of the new pressures in school that are placed upon them. I have recently found out that the grade school curriculum is gradually becoming more and more advanced at an earlier age. Kids need to play in order to grow and develop, just as much as they need an education. I believe in letting kids be kids.
We all carry memories and experiences from our childhood with us, some good and some bad, that have shaped us into the person we are today. Children only have a precious, short amount of time to be a kid. It’s in their job description to be goofy, get dirty, make mistakes, give hugs, and love unconditionally. As adults, we have forgotten that it’s ok to do these things. I believe we can all learn from little children to be more giving, be kinder, and be forgiving. I believe in letting kids be kids.