Before you roll your eyes at that statement, hear me out. As a mom of four, trust me, I get all the less-than-glamorous parts of parenting. I’ve done my fair share of diaper-changing, late-night feedings, teething battles, back-talking, and more, yet somehow, adults still manage to be crappier.
I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom and longed for adult interaction. I would have full-blown conversations with the cashier at the grocery store because they were the only person over age 5, besides my husband, that I would see for a whole week. It always seemed like being around more adults was the answer to my sanity — what else could it be? That is, until the day I started working at my children’s school. Suddenly I was around hundreds and hundreds of kids all day long, and it was amazing. Exhausting, but amazing. A child may sneeze straight into your eyeball and then wipe their snot on your favorite dress, but I’ve had an adult do almost the same thing, too.
I’ll admit, kids can be brutally honest and make you feel like garbage, but at least with them, you know where you stand. Have I been told I look tired or sick because I forgot to put on concealer one day? Yes, I have! Have I been told my dancing is cringy and that I am too old? Yes, I have! Oh, and let’s not forget my very first day at work — did a child ask if I was pregnant? OF FREAKING COURSE! None of that compares to some of the absolutely awful things adults have said though. From insulting my parenting and my looks to being dishonest and manipulative, adults have done it all. Just take a look at Facebook, or any social media platform, really, and you will see the ugly that can come from adults. The difference is, adults often know better, and they just do not care. Children care a whole lot and will give the sincerest apology when they realize they have hurt your feelings or disappointed you.
Kids also say some of the kindest, most sincere statements I have ever heard. The students at school notice if I am not feeling well or just having an off day — and they never cease to make me smile. Children will compliment you on the smallest thing and mean it so wholeheartedly. I once listened for two minutes as a class told me how pretty my hair was, and I was having an awful day before that moment. I mean, I wear different shoes one day, and my students lose their mind complimenting my outfit. The other week, I took a mental health day on a Friday and warned my after-school group that I would be gone. When I returned on Monday, you would have thought I had taken a month off. They ran so excitedly to my door and said no less than 50 times how much I was missed. As someone whose love language is words of affirmation, I thought my heart would burst, because, in that moment, I knew how much they cared. I am not sure anything in the world compares to birthday cards, hand-drawn of course, from a child who appreciates what you do. I don’t remember the last time an adult drew me a picture or wrote me something kind just because they were thinking about me. For my birthday this year, I received 42 cards and pictures, and it was hands-down my favorite gift I have ever received.
The biggest way though, that children are just better people to be around, is the way they love unconditionally. They haven’t been taught to hate yet or to hold grudges. The youngest of them have no concept of social distancing because they just want to be friends with everyone. They can be upset one day and then forgive the next — it’s truly amazing. They show so much grace, when we, as adults, are not at our best. Children also believe they can do anything at all, and they love to prove you wrong. Not to mention, I have never walked into a room full of adults and been greeted so enthusiastically with cheers of YAY and I LOVE YOU! It could make anyone feel 100 times better.
Now, I have been blessed with amazing coworkers and friends, but the kids I see daily are life-changing, and I wish more adults could be like them. The impression has always been for us to teach children when in reality, they have much more to teach us about being good people. A lesson everyone could learn right about now.