If ignorance is bliss, then the wisdom we acquire through the years can be downright burdensome. Sure children don’t have any money or the decision making that goes with it, but it goes deeper than that. Through the first decade of kids’ lives, more or less, they also don’t fret about their relationships or lot in life like we do. One of the reasons children are so refreshing, why we parade them through retirement homes to sing Christmas carols and visit with their elderly neighbors is in the hopes their youthful joie de vivre will rub off on the rest of us.
Here are some other reasons we all need children around to give us perspective:
1. Kids like each other for simple reasons. When do we get picky about who we want to spend time with? My kindergartner singled out a new friend because she thought what the girl brought for show and tell was neat. I had a crush on a boy in middle school only because I liked how he played the trumpet. Now my single friends talk with me about how hard it is to find a mate. As adults we need compatibility, trust, physical attraction and shared values.
2. Kids don’t act sick (or at least they forget to). I’ve known kids who are throwing up one minute, and then ask if they can go outside 30 minutes later when the nausea passes for awhile. At what point do we learn to lie around and mope when we’re ill? If we don’t act really sick and pathetic our spouse or boss may not believe us, but I know I mope even when I’m all alone. Kids buck up and usually only lie lethargic when they’re to a point we’d take ourselves to the ER.
3. Kids don’t diet. They don’t get hung up on calories or how many minutes of cardio versus strength training they’ve done like we do. Kids will jump at the chance to eat ice cream for dinner and love every guilt-free minute of it. They eat when they’re hungry and then, well, they play until they’re tired.
4. Kids make anything into a toy, game, or weapon. We all know pots & pans are some of the best first toys. Babies can bang on them until we, not they, tire of it. And drinking straws always make great swords and magic wands, too. My sisters and I used to have hours of fun on our staircase. We’d slide down the stairs headfirst in sleeping bags (The mom in me shudders now to think of it!) My son turns plastic cups upside down to bowl in the house. You get the picture. What might be irrelevant to us, can offer kids hours of wonder.
5. Kids live in the moment. Kids live like those close to dying tell us we ought to live: they don’t sweat the small stuff (unless it’s a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum). They don’t care if every inch of their room is covered with clutter. If friends come knocking at the door unannounced, they are always welcome.
While adults are busy plotting the next part of a vacation during down time, the kids are enjoying the hotel pool as much as Disneyland, the bunk beds back in the room as much as what they’ll experience on the agenda tomorrow.
Some adults manage to retain a youthful spirit, but all kids start with one. At some point they shift into adult thinking and the worries, the knowledge, that life isn’t all playgrounds and ice cream cones.
How else would it be fun to be more like kids?