We don’t have much to do with kids who aren’t our kids. Maybe we should.
“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” ~ Mark Twain
As grown men we don’t have much interaction with kids younger than, say, 10 years old. Fathers do, of course, but that interaction is colored by the fact that A) it’s unavoidable, and B) it’s, for the most part, enjoyable. But kids who aren’t our kids? We don’t have much to do with them. We spend most of our time with people who are adults. I mean, there are no kids at the office, or at the gym, or the bar. And the more time we spend in adult-world the more kids just fade into the background. Wallpaper. Someone else’s problem. Short people that we have nothing in common with. What do kids know about dating? 401Ks? About the hangover effects of Jagermeister?
But ignoring children is a mistake. They are actually clever little bastards who have a remarkably innocent, but crafty, world-view. Common sense hasn’t been pounded into them yet, and they enjoy life in a simple manner without guilt and shame…and they can get away with babbling incoherently and losing themselves emotionally without worry of utter embarrassment.
Your task is to talk to a child. Boy or girl. They have to be at least five and no older than 10. Sit down with them and ask them questions. Not general questions. You ask a child a general question and you’ll get a general answer. A one-word answer probably. You have to ask specific questions and you will get a specific answer.
1) Who is your favorite person in the world?
2) If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?
3) If you had a lot of money, what would you buy?
4) What do you like to do with your free time?
5) What does love mean?
6) Who is the nicest person in the world?
7) Is is better to be a child or an adult? And why?
If you have any more questions in this vein, try them out. Then write down their answers. Then write down your answers to the same questions. Compare.
Photo credit: Flickr/JamesEmery