Kids Say the Darndest Things

Art Linkletter used to have a television show where he’d put children in front of a camera and then ask them questions. The show was a great hit because the kid’s answers were always hilarious. Yoda said it best in “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones”.

Children really do say some of the darndest things. I loved the answers these kids would give Mr. Linkletter and often wondered how they came to their conclusions. One little boy when asked, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?” replied he would be an Octopus. When asked why, he said, “So I could grab all the bullies in my school and hit them with my testicles.”

We had our own version of this with my youngest son Noah. He was always saying something which would have us on the floor laughing. I remember one day he told his mother, “Thank God I’m not an Indian!” Alarmed at his racist remark and wondering where it came from, Cheryl asked him why. “Because they take their shirts off and lay on top of each other.” Confused at first, she then remembered we had all been watching “Dances with Wolves” the night before and Kevin Costner’s character did marry a girl and in the consummation scene they did take off their shirts and lay on top of each other. I still laugh every time I see this scene in the movie.

Raymond Reddington; played by James Spader in the remarkable television show “The Blacklist” said in this week’s episode,

Picasso said it took four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. They live in a delightful space somewhere between dreams and reality. They taste color, hear shapes, see sounds. We should all have such special needs.”

This is a great way to describe children; they have this ability to not be bothered by the mundane things we adults are bogged down with. They awake to a newness of life every day and enter into it without any preconceived notions of what the day is going to hold. They do not worry about things like bills, where their next meal is going to come from or any of the things we as adults do. Probably the biggest thing they concern themselves with is what are they going to play with first.

Somewhere along the line however kids end up taking on the cares of this life. They begin to be burdened with things they should never have to endure. And I’m afraid it comes from the adults around them. We don’t encourage children to think outside of the box, instead we try to place them inside with us. We stifle creativity and try to replace it with productivity.

I’m reminded of another movie, “Uncle Buck”; in it Buck, played by funny man John Candy, has to meet with his niece Maisy’s Assistant Principle. He is told by Miss Hogarth that Maisy is a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and she doesn’t take her academic career seriously. His reply is awesome, he says to her,

I know a good kid when I see one. Because they’re all good kids…until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they’re no good.”

And this is what we as adults do to children; we try to convince them to live their lives like us; little adults instead of letting them be kids. Kids need to say the darndest things and we need to encourage them to be twiddlers, dreamers and silly hearts. I think it would make the world a better place if we did.

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