“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” — Mark Twain
The other night my wife and I go out with another couple for dinner. We went to a low rent Mexican joint call Don Diego’s; it’s one of those places where they seat you, then immediately ask you if you want something to drink, and before you can say “carne asada”, the drink is in front of you and the waitress has her pen poised to take your order, and is mildly pissed that you haven’t looked at your menu. And then, just to get her away from
the table, you order your food, which in my case was a California burrito, and before you can say “chili relleno”, a giant burrito slathered with red sauce has been placed in front of you, accompanied by the standard, and tepidly delivered, “hot plate!”.
To make matters worse, there were two women in the booth next to us with seven or eight kids all under the age of eight, and they were crawling all over, hitting each other and generally making a nuisance of themselves, while the women were pouring $3.99 margaritas down their throats and generally acting as if they had no earthly idea who was responsible for those kids.
The couple we were with, Angel and Mary, don’t have kids so the brood next to us annoyed them to no end; Angel muttered under his breath a lot, and Mary talked loudly about an article she read in Parade magazine that talked about restaurants and resorts that don’t allow children.
It got me to thinking about kids in general. As grown men, we don’t have much interaction with kids younger than, say, 10 years old. Fathers do, of course, but those interactions are A) unavoidable, and B) for the most part, occasionally 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 one gets from drinking Jagermeister, after one has already consumed three gin and tonics?
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 totally losing themselves emotionally without the worry of utter embarrassment.
Your task is to talk to a child. Boy or girl. They have to be at least 5 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 it 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.
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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