Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being a Kid.

Today is the start of NaBloPoMo! I'm excited. As you can see, I have already added the badge to the sidebar, so you don't forget (and I won't either). This is going to be a fun month!

The theme for the month, rather inconveniently, is "Kids." Thankfully, this includes "kidding around" in addition to actual children. We'll get to that eventually. For now, on to the more obvious meaning of the word.

You might be wondering what a single college student might possibly have to say about kids. I hardly ever even see kids--the only kids in my life, really, are my sister's.  I'm the youngest in my family, so I don't even have younger siblings to write about. Obviously, I'm not going to be giving any parenting advice, or recounting hilarious anecdotes of the "kids-say-the-darndest-things" variety.

I don't really know a lot about raising kids, but hey--I was a kid at one point in my life. (Arguably, I'm still rather a kid.) Albeit probably a rather unusual kid, but still a kid nonetheless. 

By andreshm1 at fotocommunity.com

I was the sort of kid who spent as much time outdoors as possible--not really to play sports, but because it was much easier to imagine that I was in some kind of enchanted forest that way. I was always somewhere else in my mind. When I wasn't outside, I was reading books like Dealing with Dragons and Ella Enchanted. I imagined myself in magic castles, on pirate ships, in space. 


But my most exciting dreams weren't fantasy--they were of my own future. I spent most of my childhood wishing I were older. I wished I were 16, or in college, or married with kids. I was so aware of my own ignorance, naivete, silliness, awkwardness.


And now here I am, living many of the dreams I had as a kid. To be honest, I don't blame myself for looking forward to this time in my life. Being a kid, contrary to what many people seem to believe, is not particularly easy. Especially for a kid like me. Not that I had it bad--actually, my circumstances as a child were some of the best. I had parents who loved me and each other, I was best friends with my siblings, I was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I had great friends. I couldn't have asked for anything more as a child. But I was a child, and I knew it.

I've often wondered if other children these days are similar to the way I was. I felt out of place a lot of the time. But I'm sure the adults in my life had no idea how I felt. I think I didn't know how to express what was bouncing around in my mind; actually, I don't think it ever really crossed my mind to express it. I think we all think that children are so simple-minded that we understand them very easily, but that wasn't true in my case. Actually, I think I'm rather easier to understand now than I was as a kid.

Sometimes I wonder: if I could visit myself as a child, what would I say to myself? Would I give advice? Tell myself about my future?

I've concluded that I would give myself a hug and I would say, "You are perfectly wonderful the way you are. Don't ever believe any different. There's plenty of time to grow up. Enjoy what you have, and who you are, right now."

Maybe I'll say that to my own kids.

5 comments:

  1. I definitely don't think it's easy to be a kid, even if you have a good situation. For adults who think childhood is great because you have no worries and you don't have to stress about bills and taking care of yourself, I wonder if they think they would enjoy jail? What if it were a minimum security jail where they were treated fairly well by the guards and other inmates? I don't think many people would choose that, but it's basically what they're thinking is so great about childhood! In our society, we punish people by making them endure the circumstances of childhood. It's so much nicer to be able to make our own choices.

    I wish you could visit yourself as a child! You were SO cute!

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    1. Wow. That's a really interesting way to look at it! I never thought of that, but it's so true!

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  2. I've often thought of how hard it is to be a kid while raising my own. I try to give my kids a lot of control over their lives because I remember having to be subject to adults' choices so much in my life. It's just a fact of life--adults tell you what to do almost all of the time when you're a small child. Sometimes I wish it didn't have to be that way, but it does since kids can't take care of themselves. But I try to at least discuss things with Samuel as we're doing them, so he can feel included in the decision-making. And I let him carry out almost all of his ideas. I hate when he has an idea that just can't be done, but we usually find a way to make it happen somehow. His most recent one is building a candy cannon--I wonder how we'll manage that one! Nellie's more easy-going, but I have to remind myself to give her choices about what we do each day too.

    P.S. Yes, you were an ADORABLE child, Em!

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  3. I think I really enjoyed being a child, insofar as I was treated as such. When I became a teenager and people started expecting me to make my own choices, I HATED that. I often wished I was younger so I wouldn't have so much responsibility. But I think that was because I felt so out of control, both of life and of myself. I felt that if people stopped taking care of me I would be just be left with the consequences of that lack of control. I think one of the most important things we can teach our children is that they always have a choice.
    Annette, you're such a good mom!

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  4. Thanks, Annette and Stephanie! I really enjoy reading both of your perspectives about this. It's true--being a kid, and being told what to do, is necessary. Annette, I think it's so cool that you recognize how difficult that can be with your kids.

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