Friday, June 12, 2009

The Bluntness of Children

Let me start by saying that I am a very lucky woman. I am lucky because I have the opportunity to earn money while spending time with children. I love being with kids. It is a distinctly different experience from being with adults. But one of the main reasons that I enjoy spending time with children is this; they are honest.

Just yesterday when I was teaching an Afterschool class a five year old child approached me and stated:
"You look like a teenager!"
I paused for a moment and said
"Thank you!" I took it as a compliment. I mean after all I am approaching 30 at this point. If she thinks I look young, great!

But the point is this; children (for the most part) do not sugar coat things. They tell you if your breath smells, if you look pretty or unattractive, if they like you or dislike you; they tell it like it is.

Somewhere along the lines we loose that as adults. We are told that it is not polite to tell someone that their clothing is ugly, or that they smell badly, if we like or dislike them even. I mean I have had supervisors in many jobs that I could not stand. But I couldn't verbalize that to them.

Children possess this unique capability to freely express themselves. I believe it should be fostered, encouraged, coaxed out of them.

Furthermore, I've noticed that part of their expression is not only through words. It manifests through artwork. Visit a class of kindergarteners. At any given moment one of them will run up to the teacher and plead:

"Can I draw?!"

They do this because it is a means of expression. What occurs between age 5 and age 35 that we stop freely drawing? Some select few become artists but the rest of the world is told that they don't have an artistic inclination and stops drawing cold turkey. I find this unfortunate. Everyone should have a means of artistic expression no matter what age.

We can learn from the way that children freely express themselves. And we should encourage them to do so into adulthood.


  1. BRILLIANT blog!! I love your job. I love that you do it and I get to experience the great things through you! ;) They are, and it can be offensive, but it also is refreshing. I CAN NOT stand the falseness of some people. I get being nice sometimes, but there is a line there. And I really agree about the art! Great point. Maybe some people grow and realize they aren't that 'good' at it. Maybe because they do it less and less. Also, we do learn more exact words and body language to express more thoughts than we could before, but if more people still used art, it could be even greater. Also its a great way to de-stress. Did you know that people need to see fractals in nature to be mentally healthy!? Chaim told me when we were walking in the woods. You can go crazy if you stare at the same four man made walls all day. We are nature as well and need to see it. Art in the Park!!

  2. What are fractals? I saw some crazy post-modern art piece on them once but never understood what they were. I'm so glad you liked this one. I have so much fun with kids. True, the things they say can be offensive. But better out than in I always say. Meaning expressing yourself is better than internalizing the emotion and becoming resentful because of it. We can learn a lot from our younger counterparts!

  3. Fractals are like how nature naturally repeats itself, like a tree branching out and then the branches coming off of that, etc.

    Google! :) Darn, it won't let me copy and paste, but they say it a lot more eloquently! Anyway, I so agree, and I've been thinking about at you are saying a lot lately too. I see it in people, and how different they are than children in that and many other ways. They can still be mature but hold on to so many aspects that they loose.

  4. The other thing I've noticed about children is (contrary to popular belief) they listen. And they listen better than adults do. Most adults do not listen to one another. They are simply waiting for the other person to finish speaking so they can begin talking. Children are excellent listeners. They listen because they are constantly analyzing what another child or an adult is saying.

  5. i liked that1 you say that kids are really truethfull 2 kids are really nice
    because your really truethfull and nice.
    ps. i loved your story

  6. I liked that a kid responded to your "kids are refreshingly truthful" story. In fact, I know some pretty straight arrow, tell it like it is adults. You for example.


What do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree, but hateful comments will be deleted.