Walking passed an elementary school the other day, I overheard part of a conversation between two young girls.
Matter of factly, the first girl said, “I’m not a kid anymore. My childhood is over.”
To which her friend replied, “No, it’s not! You still have three more years!”
I’m guessing the girls were wrapping up their fifth-grade year of school. The three years left would be middle school, indicating that by their standards, they would be adults by high school. They’re right; they’ll be more grown up in high school. Luckily for them, they won’t be adults.
Why are kids in such a hurry to grow up and be adults, to put childhood behind them? Youth is that carefree time when ignorance is bliss, and mistakes are expected. Days are filled with discovery, learning, and life lessons. The freedom and independence that come with being a grown-up also come with a hefty amount of responsibility. Once people reach adulthood, all they want is to be kids again. Adults always say, “When I grow up, I want to…”
We can only be content when we learn to apply the best of childhood and adulthood. We have to hang onto that youthful sense of wonder and curiosity. Don’t forget how to play and dream. Get messy without being messy. Right in the middle of both worlds is being open to making mistakes and learning from them. Let go of the illusion of perfection. The more mature we become, the more we learn to savor, not rush through each experience. We understand the importance of being grateful for all we have lived, experienced, and been blessed with.
“I’m not a kid anymore” are words no one should ever have to say. There’s not only room but a need to be childlike and adult.