Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Five: Favorite Things About Children Under 13

Today's Friday Five is a list of my favorite qualities of children under 13. Next week, I'll do a list of my favorite things about teenagers.

  1. Curiosity- Kids want to know the "why" of everything. It can be irritating to hear "why" all the time but it is one of the few opportunities that adults outside of a classroom can witness the learning and growth of children first hand. I like to turn "why" into a learning opportunity and spend a lot of time showing my sisters pictures of stuff. We had a conversation about weight and body image yesterday. One of my sisters probably doesn't weigh 50 pounds soaking wet but she is 100% healthy for her height (she is going to be short like me). The other is quite chubby but by all estimates, is going to be ridiculously tall so the weight is still normal and healthy. The heavier sister was trying to understand why she is the weight she is and her sister is the weight she is. I understand the issue considering the heavier one is a year younger than the lighter one. So we had a talk about healthy weight in relation to diet and exercise. And then I explained how awful getting hung up on the "ideal" body image can be because Hollywood images are not realistic or healthy in any way. I showed them images of anorexic men and women and went on to explain to them how those people still see themselves as "fat" while their bodies are wasting away. We then read some of the articles about one of their favorite stars, Demi Lovato, from Disney Channel that has recently come out about her struggles with anorexia. I live for teachable moments.
  2. Creativity- Children have this innate ability to look at a mundane object and turn it into the most amazing thing. Sticks become guns for little soldiers and swords for pirates. Socks become puppets, chairs and blankets become caves. Pillow cases are capes, paper towel tubes are spy glasses. The possibilities are endless with children. I am envious of their creativity and the energy that comes from that creativity!
  3. Ability to laugh at life- I miss the days when little things didn't piss me off. Pencil lead broke? Children say "No big deal. Just go sharpen it." Even if it just broke 30 seconds before that. And 20 seconds before that. Now, I'm ready to throw the stupid thing across the room. They have this ability to shrug things off because they don't take life so seriously yet. Things that would cause major stress and drama for adults is just a little thing to a kid.
  4. Ability to forgive and forget easily- I love the nature of friendship with children. They are immediately best friends with nearly everyone they meet, regardless of age, gender, economic status, race, etc. Kids just don't see the difference in their friends. Now, when they get a little older, that is a whole different matter. But as a child, they don't have the prejudices that are learned as they grow older. And I love that. I also love the fact that they can be spitting mad at their friend and three seconds later, they are sharing secrets and juice boxes again. It is refreshing to watch.
  5. Simplistic understanding- "Why shouldn't I touch the stove? Oh, because it hurts? Okay, I wont do that again." Just because there is a biological or chemical explanation for something doesn't mean kids want to know. They don't touch a hot stove because it hurts. Not because the heat kills the tissue cells resulting in different degrees of burn injuries depending on what happens to the skin. Because it hurts. It is that simple with most kids. Kids have this amazing innate concept of common sense that I think we smother out of them with good intentions and over-supervision. Yeah, kids do stupid things like everyone else. The difference is that when a kid screws up and then has to deal with the consequences, he learns not to do it again. If we scoop him up and clean up his mess for him, he will keep doing it because he has learned nothing in the process.

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