I have been noticing lately a uniquely "kid" thing. As adults we have a better grasp of options than kids do and we are more cynical toward living life than kids, so this observation leaves me feeling a profound sense of wonder - the wonder of childlike innocence. What am I talking about? The fact that (most) kids will do what their parents have asked. Here are some of my observations….
For example, I am sitting with two kids having a picnic lunch. One child is mine and one is not. This other child has a few Hershey's kisses as their dessert to be eaten after their sandwich. This child remarks about how good they are going to taste and then sets them aside and begins to open their sandwich. Then I say, "You know, you could eat them first and THEN your sandwich."
Without missing a beat the child responds, "But my mom told me to eat my sandwich first so I better do that." The child ate his sandwich first.
For example, I'm standing outside of a car talking to two girls inside the car. They are good friends of the family and are ages 11 and 9. Their dad, who is a good friend, is inside a house talking with a mutual friend. The girls begin to comment on how hot it is getting in the car, so I suggest they hop out and either sit on the curb or on the two front porch chairs. They responded with, "Dad told us to stay in the car."
They stayed in the car.
For example, a child shows up at my house to play with my kids with two drinks - a Sprite and a water. The child informs me (he could have told me whatever…I don't know what his mother said) that his mom has told him to drink his water first and only then may he drink his Sprite. The child drank his water first.
As a parent this type of behavior warms my heart because, of course, I assume my kids are doing the same with whatever instructions I have given them when they are out of my sight. The fact that kids will do this is amazing. Knowing what we know now as adults, would we?
Some would, some wouldn't. Some would be downing the Sprite and eating desert first. Why? Because we know how to spin the truth a little more. We're wise enough to know that no one knows what so-and-so told us. Most kids don't do that.
I'm not sure exactly what things converge to create that dynamic. Maybe they have a higher sense of respect for following the rules. Maybe they still have that healthy fear of their parents. Maybe they want to please. Maybe they live more in the world of 'you do what you say and you say what you do' so if I've told you I'll wait then I'll wait. Whatever it is, watching this from kids is a pleasure. It fills you with hope that the next generation is starting well, you know? It gives you a this is the way things ought to be kind of feeling. They'll lose some of that sense of innocence of course and they'll end up like us eventually. But for now, to see and enjoy that innocent quality, well…..God love 'em.