At what point does one “grow up”? And why is the expression, “grow up!” used to chastise someone who behaves badly? It seems to me that people of a certain age (which differs from person to person) reach a point in their life when they forget they used to be kids. When this point is reached, these people begin to take themselves too seriously, often losing their capacity for fun, as well as their tolerance for other people’s fun. All of us who have aged to adulthood were, of course, children at some point in our life. I believe it is important to remember that, just as the children of today may look different, enjoy different activities, etc. than adults, it doesn’t mean they are doing something wrong. The “back in my day” comments, when made to point out a comparison between old and new ways of doing things, are acceptable; however, when these statements are made to imply the old ways of doing things were better than things today, I believe they are a disservice to today’s children (not to mention the fact this is just incorrect!). Along these lines, I also find it amusing that my friends perceive themselves to be far more “cool” than their parents, while my friends’ kids perceive them as anything but cool! A parent is a parent, regardless of whether he/she had waist length hair, wore frayed jeans, went to Woodstock, or whatever used to be cool. To today’s kids, parents and other adults were, perhaps, once cool, but now they often try too hard to impress kids with their self perceived coolness, resulting in the same embarrassing moments we experienced with our parents at the same age. You were a kid, I was a kid, indeed, all of us were once kids. It is important to remember this simple fact of life as one traverses the circle of life.
Some people I know (we know) never grew up. They are oversized kids. Some of these people are our clients. But, most of these people have an adult persona that they use as well. To continue enjoying the joys of discovery, exploration, and life as experienced by a kid whose life includes fun is what it means to remember that we were once kids. This inner kid is what makes it fun to go to a parade, even if it is an adult parade like Mardi Gras or Fantasy Fest. Some people I’ve met seem so serious that they could never enjoy such events, or concerts, or seeing the butterflies at Butterfly World. When was the last time you went to the circus, or the zoo? Perhaps these are the people who have forgotten they were a kid once. Maybe their kid time – childhood – was not a good one, that reason I can understand. But, for those who think they are too serious or dignified to swing on a swing set (of appropriate size) or ride a carousel – well, they are missing lots of opportunities to act like a kid, regardless of their numerical age. We’re only a kid once, in chronological age. The choice is ours to remember we were and revel in that memory.