Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Best Years of Your Life?

Confession: it bugs me when people tell children that “these are the best years of your life.” And although I think the t-shirts that say “I don’t feel like adulting today” are kind of funny . . . honestly, I think being an adult is highly preferable to being a kid.

Why do people tell kids that these are the best years of their lives? Sure, I get it that it can be a little sad when our babies grow up too quickly and start to pull away from us, but do we really want 30-year-olds living in our basements? Do we want adulthood to sound so unappealing that no one wants to make it there?

I remember when I was in college, I was at our church youth director’s house one weekend, and someone commented to a complaining child that “these are your best years.” I heard myself blurt out, “Don’t listen to that!” Everyone was surprised at my outburst (including me), but my mouth was already running, so I kept going. I said, “Eventually, you won’t have homework anymore. You can come home and sit on the sofa. You can drink a soft drink and watch TV or read a book that nobody MAKES you read. Also, you won’t have to get a pass when you have to go to the bathroom—you just get up and go when you feel like it. You get to use pens, too, instead of pencils all the time. Purple ink if you want. And if you get in the mood to go somewhere, you can drive your own car instead of begging your mom to take you. And I’ll tell you something else: if you want a dog, you can just go get one!”

Twenty years later, I still feel pretty much the same way. I want my kids to enjoy their childhood, but I would hate for them to think that their best years are the ones spent wearing Garanimals.


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