Working with children has taught me plenty of life lessons over the past few years. I’ve learned to have patience, how to use my imagination, and how to control my anger when things aren’t going as planned. One of the most important things I’ve realized is that things are not ever as serious as we adults tend to make them.
Today while I was babysitting Jack, I was arguing with a friend over the phone. I was feeling very down and could barely hold back tears. I felt guilty for not paying enough attention to the boy I was supposed to be watching and put my personal matters aside. I put my phone down and got on the floor to play blocks.
Within minutes, I had already forgotten about the argument and was instantly in a better mood. He was building a castle and using his action figures to play “good guys” and “bad guys”. One of the bad guys was a pirate who had “broken out of the kingdom’s prison”. Just to play along I asked, “well how did the pirate break out?” Jack replied, “he’s a pirate, he has a sword…” “But why did he have the sword in prison?”, I asked. “Because he’s a bad guy and bad guys have weapons in prison, Rachel!”
I told him he was silly and that his kingdom needed to get better security. He retaliated by calling me a “buttface”.
I laughed aloud and attempted to explain that “bad guys” get their weapons taken away when they go to jail or prison. We went back and forth before we ended up laughing hysterically and hugging it out.
“Bad guys might not have weapons in real life but they do in this kingdom!”, he shouted.
After settling our differences so easily, it made me wonder why adults are unable to do the same. It didn’t matter who was right or wrong (even though I was obviously right this time), Jack and I were still the best of friends. He still appreciated me playing with him and he even told me he loved me before I left.
That’s the beauty of working with children, they love you unconditionally. You never have to dress a certain way or listen to the same type of music as a kid to get them to like you. Often times, you just have to be yourself. There’s never any pressure to act like someone you’re not. No matter how you’re feeling or how your days going, a simple laugh or hug from a child can turn it around.
If adults fought each other with words like “buttface”, I strongly believe that the world would be a better place.
Although Jack probably doesn’t understand, I needed him more than he needed me today. I needed to escape reality and play in his block kingdom on the floor. I hope all adults get the chance to put down their smartphones and play on the floor today. I promise it will open up your eyes to the things that truly matter.