In Praise Of Childish Things
One of my least favorite Bible verses is this one:
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
And yeah, I get it. We grow up and we have to behave as grownups. We go to work. We pay our bills. We keep our house clean. We make sure there’s gas in the car and food in the fridge.
But – oh, for those childish things!
In this time of worry, uncertainty, and sadness, may I please give a shout-out for childish pleasures?
Make time to regress a little.
Don’t put away the childish things permanently. Take them out – once a week or so – just for a little while, and play with them.
Let’s clear away the stress that has been pounding at the place just behind our eyes, and delight in a simpler pleasure.
What did you love as a child?
Do it again.
Here’s some suggestions:
Ride a bike. Take your feet off the pedals as you go downhill.
Sing. Sing in the shower or as you make dinner. Sing in the car. (that’s my favorite place.)
Maybe instead of a quick shower, take a bubble bath. Make a bubble beard.
Bubbles… oh yes, blow bubbles too. With your gum if you want. Or with a wand and some dish soap. I have a photo of my aunt (whom I miss so much) blowing bubbles with my sister’s children. She had cancer and yet her face shows only joy.
Did you love your tinker toys? Lincoln logs? Erector sets? Legos? Get some. If you can’t borrow them from a child, or from your library, buy a set. You spend money on stupider stuff all the time. (I spent $20 on a ham sandwich the other day. Ham. $20.)
Make a puzzle. My parents had a jigsaw puzzle on their dining room table at all times. We made puzzles together as kids. As adults, when we visited, we always took a few minutes at the table. I never left their house without the satisfaction of finding that one piece of sky.
If it was a Barbie that rocked your world, rock one now. Lots of grown women collect dolls. It’s not for the investment. It’s for the feeling. Or stuffed animals. When my husband’s aunt could no longer take care of a pet, she liked to sit with a soft toy cat on her lap. It made her feel more comfortable in her chair.
Once in a while, eat marshmallow fluff instead of your fancy boysenberry preserves. Drink your classy beverage out of a curly straw.
Keep a Pez dispenser in your purse instead of mints.
Dig in the dirt. Adult people call it ‘gardening’.
Don’t eat that orange without tossing it in the air a few dozen times.
Write something – maybe just your grocery list – and dot every ‘i’ with a little heart.
Give out with a big ‘Mooooo!’ when you drive by a cow.
Get yourself a pair of silly pajamas. Watch your favorite tv show in them.
Change your ringtone to Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Splash in a puddle. Wade in a brook. Pick up pretty rocks and keep them in a jar.
Make a chain with the paper clips in your desk. Or a nice big ball with rubber bands.
Sculpt. Not like grown-up sculpt. Play-Doh sculpt. Modeling clay feels so smooth warmed by your hand. Silly Putty too.
Buy a Chia Pet. Grow something hairy.
Color. There’s a reason why adult coloring books are so popular right now. Coloring can calm you. I remember years ago walking in on my mother when she was babysitting for her granddaughter. Mom was sitting at the kitchen table coloring. By herself. My niece had wandered off to do something else, but Mom was still coloring. When I laughed, my Mom said, quite seriously, “I just wanted to finish my picture.” Mom was ahead of her time.
Run. Not like ‘workout’ run. Like ‘celebration’ run.
Be a kid. Just once in a while. You’ll feel a lot better.