As I near what I hope is just the middle part of my life, I find myself intrigued by a simple article in our community’s newspaper. Each week, a group of kids is selected at one elementary school to answer one question.
The most recent question posed to these kids was, “What is the hardest thing about being a kid” and as I read through each answer, I found myself giggling at the things kids view as “hard.” For example, one young boy said it’s too hard to “go on the monkey bars, but he could go on the swings.” I could more closely relate to some of the answers more than others. “It’s hard to draw inside the lines” and “Trying to sit still is hard” were two answers given by the children. I secretly wanted to whisper to them, “This doesn’t get easier — at least in my case.”
The first thing I thought of when I was skimming over the pictures of the smiling kids was how easy these kids have it. I mean, seriously? It’s hard to sit “criss cross applesauce?” Anyone can do that, right? What about the girl that said “being good is hard” — is it really that hard to be good?
That’s when it hit me…I forgot what it was like to be a kid. Because as an adult, I have much bigger things to process.
So here are 5 things most adults have forgotten about kids:
Kids love their birthdays
Who wouldn’t when you are no longer 7 — because now you are 8!!! They even know when their half-birthdays are and make sure to announce it to the world! On their special day, that is exactly how they feel. They feel loved and love the attention. Sometimes, it’s about the cake and presents, but one day, they will love that someone cared enough to be there for them…to help them celebrate. Never downplay the importance of a child’s birthday…that day is right up there with the other big holidays. But they know that day is theirs.
Kids aren’t fake
They don’t know how to be. We teach them to be honest and to say what they think and feel. How many times have we told them, “Use your words” and yet we are surprised when they are brutally honest with us? There is a cereal commercial highlighting this same point — kids may not be shy about telling you that your stomach is hairy or asking why your legs make noises when you walk. We want to pretend that they only notice what we teach them, but believe me, they are paying way more attention than we give them credit for…and they remind us ever so often too.
Kids need their friends
In a world when adults have learned to rely more on themselves or a smaller group of close confidants, kids want to be liked by lots of people. They want to be included in the games you play at recess and to be invited to their classmates birthday party. They want to matter and friendships remind them that they do. Sitting alone at a lunch table is heartbreaking for any adult to see…imagine what it is like for that kid.
Kids are watching us
As I mentioned earlier, we might believe that kids are only learning things in school or when we make a point to teach them something, but in reality, they are watching, processing, and chances are, they are mimicking us more than we even think. They pick up on the words we say (yes, even the bad ones), our mannerisms, and our values. If they see us being kind to strangers or yelling at our spouse, they will keep that as an experience to use later on in their own lives. We can never really know how much they get from us until we hear our 5 year old yell from the back seat, “Crap!” because they dropped their juice box down the side of their seat. Not one of those proud mama moments for me, that’s for sure.
Kids aren’t afraid to dream
Let’s face it. Kids dream and they dream BIG. They don’t just want to be a nurse or a mom, they want to protect the most endangered species on the earth, climb Mt. Everest, and run 5 marathons…all before they are 30. They hit the gate running and before we can explain to them how the real life works, they are already on their way. As we get older, we put our dreams aside and instead, succumb to the life of responsibility and societal norm. Kids always believe in the magic of their dreams and the hopes for their future.
Kids remind us to be authentic with one another — there is a difference between being truthful and being hurtful. Because of them, we can look back at the years and feel truly blessed by the journey we have taken…with the places we have been, the people we met along the way, and the memories we have made along the way. Having the right kind of people around us — whether they be family or friend — makes life that much more enjoyable. Be grateful for those people who make our lives better because we still need our friends too.
Kids teach us to be the kind of people we want to be. Without knowing it, they help us correct our mistakes as we strive to be better because of them. No adult wants to be known as the grouch at the end of the block or the man who yells at everyone at the local ballpark. Seriously? That’s not our legacy. Nothing is more exciting than watching a dream come to fruition. Kids remind us to give a chance to something that might never be, but to ignore it is a much worse fate.
We may be older, but sometimes, it’s hard being an adult. Because we forget things.