Kids are Right

I was babysitting a cousin of mine yesterday. She is about five years old and full of energy and imagination. We were playing a game where we pretended the floor was on fire and we had to avoid certain areas. We rescued imaginary animals and called imaginary firemen. She concocted a world from nothing but her creative power. She was so deeply invested in this scenario that there was no self-consciousness or embarrassment in her actions.

Kids are dedicated to having fun as much as possible. They wear their emotions on their sleeve for all to see. They see colour and feel the air. They aren’t thinking ahead or rationing their energy, which is why tiredness and exhaustion hit them all at once. They think: “I feel great right now, so I’m going to chase that bee for an hour and a half.” Which is great! Kids are completely present at all times and enjoy life wherever and whenever they can.

It got me thinking about what we lose as we grow older. And at what points in time we lose this presence. Here is my half-brained theory:

When kids start to grow up, for better or worse we slowly introduce them to boundaries. We start off by introducing them to ‘recess’ (not the TV show Recess, although we also do that as well). We introduce an allocated time slot where they are allowed to play and have fun. We tell them: “Jimmy, if you’re good now you will get a play time at 11 o’clock. That’s when you can play with your blocks and lego. But for now, work hard and be good.”

This idea of allocated play times is instilled in us in our formative years. And so as grown up’s we still have these invisible boundaries in us. We are constantly looking for permission to have fun.

Last weekend I did nothing but watch movies, lie on the sofa, play my guitar and eat junk food. It felt good in the moment but I couldn’t help feel guilty about not being ‘productive’. Why was I feeling guilty about doing what I wanted and enjoying myself? Similarly, I’ve been in conversations with people who have expressed guilt for enjoying quiet walks in the sun.  Why?! We should be having fun all of the time. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. We shouldn’t feel guilty about doing things that make us feel peaceful and happy.

Grown ups are constantly looking for permission to have fun. If I want to dance, I tell myself I need to be in a place where dancing is socially acceptable. I either need to be at a wedding and drunk, or at a bar dancing ironically and self-consciously with friends. We are waiting for that invitation and permission to have fun. We are waiting for our own version of recess when instead we should be dancing all the time.

dancing

We spend our lives gaining more and more responsibility. Building up our ego and identity. However the older I get the more I want to revert to being a kid again. Having that constant creative mentality. Spend any amount of time with one and you’ll realise they hold the answer to happiness. Kids don’t check Facebook over and over. Or worry about taxes. Or wonder what Isis is doing. If they want to be famous they become famous. If they want to be a penguin they become a penguin. Their natural state is to create and imagine. Grown ups tell themselves “one day I’ll be happy”. Kids never have this thought as they are always happy in the moment. Grown ups are always burdened by tomorrow. Kids say: “I have energy now. Lets have fun now. Tomorrow doesn’t matter.”

So take yourself less seriously. Stop looking for permission. Go pretend the floor is on fire and save some kittens. Dance whenever you want to and tell someone they’re pretty.

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45 thoughts on “Kids are Right

  1. What we do to kids is worse than telling them, “Work hard and you’ll earn the right to be happy.” We tell them that WORK ISN’T HAPPY. We teach them to expect to be bored, miserable. At the same time, we teach them that negative feelings are “wrong”. It’s just horrible, how we squinch ourselves into little boxes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said! I love seeing my daughters (ages 2 & 3) play and imagine they are princesses in a castle and they ask me to join them. It takes me away from all the “grown up” tasks we have to do. It’s so heartwarming to see how they enjoy every moment and they don’t care who is watching them, embarrassment is not in their vocabulary 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post! The good news is that the older I’ve gotten, the less I care about what other people think. We had bad (icy) weather here on Monday and nobody drove who didn’t absolutely have to. I never even got out of my pajamas. I watched bad Syfy movies and lay on the couch all day and I did not feel one iota of guilt. It was a glorious Monday! That said, there was a time I would have felt guilty about such an “unproductive” day. It’s a shame that only the very young or those of us who’ve been around for a while give ourselves permission to just be, whatever that may be in any given moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post – and well reasoned. There’s a lot of truth in what you say. That guilty feeling about just relaxing or having fun becomes ingrained in us. It’s hard to lose that feeling that we should be doing something more useful or productive.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ideally, it would be interesting to retain our child-like sense, but realistically, we cannot always be like that or else hardly anything would be achieved. Yes, the odd unproductive day every now and then is alright, but in the long run all it serves for is to shut down for a while.
    With me, I prefer to work because I know that if I get everything done now and then hopefully achieve great things, I can then relax.
    In my opinion, that is what separates us from children. Children are dreamers but rarely their dreams become reality, whereas the majority of adults have the capabilities of turning those dreams into concrete things. I know that is very generalised…
    I do think though that instead of one extreme or the other, there should be a balance between these two states.
    But personally, I would rather be productive and work towards my future. And writing from what I have heard off of others, whenever I hear someone say ‘live for today’, I often find that they are somewhat unprepared for the future. In the end though, I think that is because I am the type of person who prefers to have a plan rather than be unprepared (for as long as I can remember).
    Also, one quick note: I don’t actually take myself too seriously (I do know how to have a laugh), it’s just that to me I would rather work hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up some great points! And I completely agree with you, if you constantly live in the moment then you can become unprepared for the future. I guess my point was that we shouldn’t let work and ‘being productive’ overpower our ability to relax and enjoy life. However I understand that being productive and being happy aren’t mutually exclusive things for most people though.
      Like you say, we just need to find a balance between the two states that bring the most happiness.
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ok, after picking up the cat and running through my living room shouting ‘hot fire carpet Otis! Its hot on little feet!’ then dancing to the music Chanel with bewildered looks from the partner guess all that’s left is to say you my dear are pretty!

    Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my gosh this is such a great post! and a wake up call too. why am I always so worried about being ‘productive’? Even on the weekends I feel I have to spend every minute doing something beneficial, worthwhile, productive. But, it’s no use doing loads of productive things in the hope that one day it will make us happy… we need to be happy now! In the present! I am definitely going to try and take life less seriously after reading this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you liked it!
      I think we just need to ask ourselves why we feel the need to be productive all the time. Which is a hard question. I guess my point was that we shouldn’t let work and ‘being productive’ overpower our ability to relax and enjoy life. However I understand that being productive and being happy aren’t mutually exclusive things for most people though.
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this post but it’s also worthwhile to remember that being a kid isn’t always happy. It’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster. You could be insanely happy one minute and then crying your eyes out the next. Or you could be absolutely terrified of the monster under the bed. Adults gain perspective, but it’s true that we shouldn’t be guilty for not always being ‘productive’. We need periods of laziness and idle dreaming, I reckon, but it is these states that help new ideas to come to the surface. If we constantly busy, we cannot think deeply and allow ideas to develop. That’s my theory anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great points. It isn’t always laughs and giggles throughout childhood. But I guess my point was that kids are seemingly more capable of being happy and carefree from moment to moment.

      And I completely agree with you about needing periods of laziness and idle dreaming. It seems in our fast paced, technological world people are becoming more and more afraid of being bored. However I believe deeper understandings and discoveries develop when our minds lie fallow.

      Like

  9. I remember running wild with my brother almost everywhere. Our parents used to complain that we did not study at all. We would just play the entire day!
    And now? I barely find time to do anything but study. Even if I take an hour break, i feel, I could have studied for 15 more minutes. It’s just so sad.
    I totally agree with your post. Although I personally don’t like kids, i love the freedom with which they live their lifes. Imagine just running wildly in the park because you felt like it! Or acting as doctors or nurses or teachers or firemen, all because for once in life, you wanted to. 😦
    We are put under a lot of parental and societal pressure as we grow up. The need to excel in all fields is killing the initiative in kids.

    Like

  10. Kids feel everything is possible, they fall down and they get up and try again . They are not embarssed or egotist , they love you unconditionally and the smile on their face is one thing that every human works hard for 🙂

    Like

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