A friend of mine once told me that he thinks children are much more fun than adults any day and that he’d rather hang out with them any day. I can almost agree.
One of my favorite things about really young children is the fact that they tend to be wholly willing to accept who people are, where they are in life. At camp this year, I spent nearly as much time with kids as I did adults, partially for that reason.
When you walk up to someone you haven’t seen in a while, the typical greeting is, “Hi! How’s it going? What have you been up to?” Right? Well, at least it is if you’re an adult. The only thing children care about is what you’re going to be doing with them right at that instant, “What are you doing here?”
Greeting so many old friends at camp proved much more difficult than I imagined this year. After about a day and a half of meeting up with everyone, having to answer that dreaded question of “What have you been up to?” with, “taking care of children,” “looking for a job,” or “trying to keep up with loans.” Having to say that over and over started to chip away at my self-esteem, no matter how much I tried to joke about it.
Whenever I was hanging out with the kids, not one of them asked me how my job search was going. Sure, they were some of the kids I watch back home, but still, not one of them asked if I had found a job yet. Not one of them asked why I still live with my parents; they just think, Why wouldn’t someone live with their parents? None of them make me feel as if I lack in potential compared to the person sitting next to me, they just run up and hang off of every one of my limbs (quite literally at times). More than once during camp, I was invited to stay for dinner or stay to play when I was just walking by a lot. I sometimes stayed or took the kids on a golf cart ride to the “Ark Park” to play, but sometimes, I had places to be, and the look on their faces just about made me cave. In contrast to the feeling that I sometimes overwhelm people my own age with my presence, it’s rather touching.
In a way, the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book was completely right. The things that “matter” to many adults (counting money, doing something constantly just to feel “useful,” getting drunk, having a job just to say that you have a job, etc.) are not the things that really matter in the long run. Being passionate about life, caring for the ones you love, those things are important, not worrying about what you do for a living.
While I am not saying that wasting away one’s life doing nothing is something notable, I do think that it is important not to lose sight of the important things that we deal with, the important people in our lives. I know that chillin’ with the kids gives me a boost of self-confidence that I don’t really find anywhere else because they haven’t been bogged down by all the worries and cares in life yet. They generally don’t have loans, jobs, pressure, stress or money issues to worry about yet. They just worry about what toy we’re going to play with next or what new adventure life has in store … and if their friends or “buddies” will be there with them.
And on the other hand, when it comes to thinking like an adult, I think the best part about it is that I sometimes get paid to hang out with these kids.