Monday, November 08, 2010

Curious, Joyful, Happy Kids Grow Up: Unfortunately

I must admit I find the wonder kids have amazingly refreshing. When I was a kid I just took it for granted. Now, unfortunately surrounded by way too many incurious, blasé, dreary adults I realize the kids really have a much better idea how to live than we adults do.

Have some fun. Have some fun with a cardboard box and a stick. Or a plastic dinosaur and a small firetruck. Or just reading a book, for the 56th time this year, about how some cat goes to the store.



Meanwhile I think an alien could appear on the subway and most of my fellow passengers would only be concerned if it was taking up too much space or blocked their exit, and if not, maybe not even notice it.

Hey, maybe this is why my parents always asked me "what did you do today?"
Me: [Jeez stop hounding me, Dad] "Nothing"
Actually what I did: played in a puddle; landed on the moon with Rachel and Dan and brought some moon rocks back to play with; learned that we named the people in North America, Indians, when Christopher Columbus came because we were completely wrong about who they actually were and somehow never got around to fixing that error (another strike against you crazy adults); and decided that really chocolate ice cream is better than spinach and adults don't have any idea what they are talking about.]

Me: [Why the heck do I want to talk about that stuff, you are an adult you must have done much cooler stuff. You get to do whatever you want, you are not trapped all day being ordered around by big adults who can make you do whatever they want :-(]. "Yuck, spinach" :-( [I can't wait until I get to just eat chocolate ice cream and no spinach]

Well maybe I now finally figured out why adults want to know what kids did every day - they might get some vicarious joy (having nearly forgotten how to find a falling leaf, or cool green shoe joyful). Now why people want to know what their spouse did, I still don't understand that :-)

Just watching the faces of adults and kids is amazing. Adults, by and large show no joy. A kid's face will show more joy when they see their Mom for the 8th time today than an adult will in the entire month. I just have to believe that is not a good sign. As a kid I didn't think adults had much of a clue or very good reasons for why things had to be certain ways. Of course, as a kid, I was unreasonable and had to wait to grow up and then I would understand. I have to say I think my kid self had most of it right.

I didn't get how trapped we become as adults into day to day lives we don't mean to chose - I did get that wrong. But I am not sure I was wrong that we shouldn't do that. But it is harder than I thought to avoid it (especially since I didn't think it was even a risk that an adult would be stuck doing stuff about as fun as being stuck in a chair and being lectured to with a bunch of other people all day long about stuff you often couldn't care about at all).

What is exciting to me now? Refinancing my mortgage at 3.75%. Now that is great. But, I think most 7 year olds have much better things they are excited about.

Photo of my nephews by my brother.

Related: The freedom to act before you have been trained to follow convention, at all costs - Sarah, aged 3, Learns About Soap - Letting Children Learn – Hole in the Wall Computers - Amy's Halloween Costume



Photo of my nephew at the Staten Island Children's Museum. We need to get back to that time when we spend through life in a blur of wonder and excitement.

No comments: