At school, a teacher stands at the front of the room and instructs kids. In sports, a coach shows kids how to play. At home, parents teach kids what is right and wrong. Kids constantly learn from adults, but what can adults learn from kids? A group of students from Hill Middle School say there’s a lot to learn, the biggest being the way kids think.
Kids have grand ideas about the future and aren’t afraid to imagine even if it’s crazy, according to seventh-grader Trinity Birch. She thinks stress changes the way adults imagine. “When adults imagine it’s about more serious stuff,” she says. “It’s about what they want and how they’re going to get it, like if they want to imagine themselves living in a big house and how they’re going to get there. Kids just imagine what they want to be, not how to get there. They’re just like, I want to be an NBA player.”
While this thinking may be unrealistic at times, it also allows for endless possibilities. Birch wants to be a fashion designer, which is apparent from her print top and bright accents.
Unfortunately, “childish” thinking is not always seen as a good thing. “Kids aren’t always a priority for ideas,” says eighth-grader Bradshaw Willis. “Some people think they don’t have good ideas so they don’t listen to them. Yes, it’s frustrating because you want to get your point across.”
Willis says adults think differently because their choices affect not only themselves, but people around them. “Kids kind of stay tunnel vision-thinking and how it will just affect themselves.” Still, he thinks at times he has better ideas than his parents.
The group wonders how often adults imagine and whether they even enjoy it because they are so occupied with other things like work, money, their kids, etc.
Eighth-grader Katie Cmil says adults’ stress holds them back from taking risks. (Stress seemed to be a recurring point among the group). “Adults have to make big choices and are in the real world. Their risks could impact them more,” she says. So are kids’ ideas not applicable to the real world?
Sixth-grader Jarmell Johnson, aka JJ, used to say he wanted to be an adult because kids can’t buy anything and adults get more leeway. A friend once stole something from John and then lied that he didn’t have it. Johnson’s mom confronted the friend’s mom. “My mom believed the parent more than me, even though I said he took it.”
To understand adult life, Johnson and his mom switched places for a day. He did everything adults do, including paying the bills, cooking, and washing dishes. “It was hard. It was really hard. All she did was lay around. She ate.” He no longer says he wants to be an adult. He also points out that kids can learn a lot from adults. He respects his mom’s advice because she has already been through situations he’s going through.
But even though adults have more to deal with, relaxing and having fun is still possible and important, according to Johnson. “I think adults can learn from kids to loosen up and get the stress off by doing something fun after, even if you’re tired.”
What do you think adults can learn from kids? Comments welcome.