There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t act a little childish sometimes.
-from Whovians United
Children, by the nature of their age and developmental stage, act childishly. They act like children.
I’ve always thought it amusing when I hear people … ok, let’s be honest, when I hear myself … tell a child to stop being childish. Isn’t this what they do?
My son, who is rather literal, gave me the weirdest look when, at the age of six, I told him in no uncertain terms to stop behaving like a child. Seriously?!
Adults, on the other hand, can and do act childish. It’s almost a right.
I’m grown up now. I have spent years doing and behaving the way adults want me to. Now I am my own person, I make my own decisions and … dammit … if I want to stomp my foot or have a full-blown tantrum in front of everyone, then I HAVE EARNED THAT RIGHT!
But … you do have to be careful how, when and in front of whom you do it.
In Year 9 I had a maths teacher who, let me put it bluntly, should not have been working with adolescents. I have no doubt he knew his subject … but he did not know how to relate to youth. In short, he had no control.
One day he had clearly had enough. The bell rang signalling the end of the lesson and, instead of returning to his desk (probably to hold his head in his hands), he raced to the door … not to beat us out, but to barricade it. He then stomped his foot and yelled, ‘You are not going anywhere!’ This was followed by a defiant, pouting glare and folded arms.
Childish? Oh yes!
Effective? Hell no! We all pushed past him and went out to recess.
Funny? You bet your life it was, and that’s why I still remember that day, and little else about Year 9 maths.
So, sometimes an adult behaving childishly is not so good. But, there are times when being childish is absolutely called for.
I write this having just returned from the beach with my kids. I bought them inflatable boogie boards for Christmas. Man, those things catch waves like you wouldn’t believe, and they don’t dig into your stomach and wind you if you happen to be dumped by a wave, legs flailing in a most unladylike fashion while you eat sand and seaweed. (That, for the record, did not just happen … it was when I was about twelve … today was the first time I had been boogie-boarding since that mortifying and painful day.)
Up until today, my preferred beach position was with the ‘adults’ (mostly mums, I might add), supervising my children from the shore, book in hand and pretending to read.
Those boogie boards looked like fun, so after several conversations with the voice in my head, I reached my hand out when my daughter offered me a go.
I have to admit, I felt completely chastened at the look of surprise … and delight … on her face.
I let a couple of waves slip by … then I went for it.
Then the unmistakeable discomfort of a bucket of sand up you-know-where as I skidded into shore.
But, I went again … and again. I did not nose-dive, but my dismounts were less than elegant. I did not care! I felt like a teenager again. It was fun! Childish fun!
However, as I finish writing this I can confirm that I now feel like an adult again. I can barely walk.
Will I do it again tomorrow?