26 March 2011

Never Want to (Fully) Grow Up

My wife likes to laugh at me.  Not really laugh at me in a mean sort of way, but just laugh at me.  I do some things that are somewhat laughable, after all, so I don't mind it a bit that she laughs.  I still love Winnie-the-Pooh, for example, and seeing a new Pooh or Tigger blanket or towel at the store is exciting for me.  I like to skip, too, every once in a while--it's a form of movement that just feels really cool when you do it.  I ride on the back of the shopping cart, and I watch cartoons.  She understands me, though--I don't do these things because I'm trying to hold on to my youth or to fool myself into thinking that I'm still young.  I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, and I'm not doing anything for show.  I do these things because I like them.  They're a lot of fun, and I learned from my "fellow adults" just how boring and tedious life can get when we stop having fun.

If I'm at any sort of social function at which families are involved, you can always find me with the kids, playing tag or hide-and-go-seek or whatever else they may be up to.  Again, it's not an attempt to prove or recapture anything; rather, it's just a way to have fun.  Adults have an annoying tendency to just stand around talking about the same old stuff, not using the gift of their bodies for anything other than standing up straight (or sitting on a chair) and holding a cup of something and talking.  Kids, on the other hand, use their bodies to have fun, and in doing so they don't diminish the amount of energy available to them, but they actually make that energy grow so that they can have more fun later doing something else.

You see, kids haven't forgotten yet what it truly means to have fun.  They haven't forgotten the thrill of movement and of play, and they haven't forgotten what it means to accept anyone as a playmate who's willing to play.  As they grow and learn from their adult role models, they learn to discriminate between potential play partners, and they learn the "joy" of accomplishment versus the "waste" of time spent playing.

I often think that we have it all wrong.  Somehow, we believe that it's our job as adults to teach kids how to grow into being just like we are.  That belief is faulty, though.  Actually, our higher calling is to learn from the kids--to learn all the things that we've forgotten about seeing and feeling and loving all the joy and wonder and fun that's here in this world for us.  I like it when my wife laughs at me.  Then I know that I'm learning my lessons at least fairly well.

When they tell you to grow up, they mean stop growing.             

Tom Robbins


  1. In a week I will be attending my son's end of the season hockey celebration. As per the routine, one of the families host it...they determine what the menu will consist of, letting all of us know what to bring, and then create some sort of activity for the kids. While the kids are playing, the adults stand/sit around socializing - gossiping - (i.e. talking about the season, sharing anxieties about what next season will bring, spreading rumors about what person is doing what for what team, etc). I think that this year, my son & I might have to bring a foot ball or some other sort of ices for the adults to get up and "play" too! Thank you for sharing this post! It really got me to think and start brainstorming about the event that is coming up next weekend.

  2. I agree. . . adults can be so boring sometimes. What is it that makes us stop having fun?