As any parent will tell you (perhaps reluctantly), having kids does in fact teach you a few things. Some good. Some not-so-good. You find out things about yourself you never would have guessed, believed, or wanted to know. My son is constantly showing me new ways to look at the world, my relationships, and how everything connects and fits together. He is usually seeing things in a very different way from me. And it got me thinking again about this idea of how we change and grow out of various ways of thinking. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
We were discussing various careers, and amongst the dozens of questions he had for me, one of them dealt with the issue of vacation and holiday time. Money wasn’t a concern for him. Nor was schooling, stress-levels, respect, or fulfillment. He wanted to know about time off, like any other eight-year old kid.
I explained to him that most people get a few weeks off each year. He asked about summer vacation, which of course is very near and dear to any student. I answered that most people don’t get a “summer vacation” in the way he is used to now, that the only two groups of people that get each and every summer off are teachers and students. Without missing a beat, without so much as a slight pause, he added:
“And snow plow drivers.”
This was the most obvious answer in the world to him. Not funny. Not unusual. A statement of fact. And it dawned on me yet again, for the eightieth time in the past few weeks, that kids and adults think differently. I know what you’re thinking – Bravo! What a revelation! – but my point is that children have something we don’t, and we are definitely the poorer for it. They see things the way they are, without any other B.S. or multitude of other junk that complicate nearly everything we see and believe. Because, of course, he’s right about the snow plow drivers. They do get every summer off. And he saw that – immediately – while I missed the obvious truth of it. Once upon a time, I likely would have said the same thing, but I lost it. It has nothing to do with intelligence, education, or experience. It has to do with a certain way of viewing the world that most adults grow out of with age.
Is it wisdom to miss that obvious, albeit amusing, addition to the list? Is it adulthood protecting me from saying something foolish, even though it’s true? He saw it. I didn’t. But I want to. Over-simplified? Yes. Too literal? Absolutely. But it’s also true, and real, and the way we should all want to be.