Quirky Advice From Kids
Kids like rhyming. So if some kid says, “See you later alligator. Don’t forget the toilet paper” they’re not trying to pass on timely wisdom about the benefits of carrying emergency supplies. They’re merely sharing what kids like to find. Which, in most cases, is the wonder of the world we’re in.
Likewise, advice that, “Some eat spaghetti. Some eat jam. If you value your life, don’t eat spam” is not a cautionary warning. It’s just foolish fun told from a kid’s eye view. Perhaps that’s why us grownups don’t get kid’s stuff. We tend to read it all wrong.
“You’re being a nuisance”, “Stop being silly”, “And go and clean your room!”
Gulp! That sounds too much like me being grown up, and I’m meant to know better. After all, I still remember how it felt to be a kid.
Sadly, you can’t go back. Time and failed attempts to renovate your body with quietly skipped gym memberships have catapulted you forward. Now you’re mature, knowing, and adult. As it stands, such terms translate into one single sentence: you pay the bills. Not exactly what you dreamed of when you were a kid, was it?
You thought being a grownup would entitle you to all the thrills at will that your eager eyes and beating heart could handle. You pictured what it would be like to be in charge of the chocolate cake, and be the boss of everything. Well now you are. At least, you pay for it anyway.
Those heady days of childhood pass all too quickly in hindsight. Not that they did back then. It was more like a slow train coming that never seemed to move fast enough. Now it has and I suspect many of us wouldn’t mind going back.
Failing that, you can at least contemplate what you did as a kid; maybe even experience the feeling. Remembering what being a child was like also comes in handy. You take them more seriously, knowing that, like yours, their fears are as real. You also understand that their weird quirkiness is just practice for wilder weirdness to come. Perhaps that’s why I like kids. I know how it feels.
But you and I are trapped. Inside our own time and thinks bubble. Peering into someone else’s, you might think “That’s weird. Their thinks are so petty, they’re appallingly small.” Or perhaps our thinks flaws prevent us from looking at all. Though together we are each nonetheless separate. We all know, but being complicated, we’d rather not show it.
Whereas kids, well they’re too busy checking out how life works to notice too much of that. Except for melancholy kids, who wish more than anything that everyone gave them a lot more attention. For them, it began the moment they couldn’t grab the door handle to come back in. From their viewpoint, there’s too much loneliness.
But for the most part, little kids prefer not to dwell. They’re not into coded messages like, “I think you need a vacation.” Instead, they advise you to “Buy me an icecream” or point out pressing realities like, “You’ve got something up your nose” or simply, “You look funny.” Adults, however, generally refuse to make such statements because reputation means more than demanding dessert or stating the obvious can offer.
But I don’t mean to trivialize kids because of their weirdness. Instead, I’d like to celebrate it. Slicing through so much formality, kid’s cut to the chase and I admire that. Which leads me to some timely, if quirky, advice I once got from a kid in class:
“If you put too much stuff in your mouth at once you can choke. So never put in more that can fit in your nose.”
Like me, I hope you bear that in mind.
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