When I’m given the opportunity, I prefer playing with kids.
Watching Dad fight his way back from another broken back, clawing at life itself trying to delay the onset of the inevitable is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.
When I’m playing with kids, I wonder what they’ll be doing in their last years of life. Will they have the resources to assist them? Will they be given the same kind of fortitude necessary to fight their last battle to the bitter end?
I always treat kids with a great deal of respect. Try to understand them, play with them at their level, with generous doses of extra fun. I act silly, because they seem to enjoy seeing an adult doing silly things. Things like puffy cheeks, moving tongues, cross-eyes, making coins disappear, rolling in the dirt.
At least they think I’m an adult. Most adults consider me a giant kid.
But kids are the purest form of human on this planet. At their age, they can absorb massive amounts of information many times that of an older person. Their minds are only just starting to model the world around them, and I enjoy helping them form those models so that they are robust, with a small dose of magic for fun.
The only prejudices they carry are those they’ve already learned from parents and peers. Gender preferences, aversion to spice or dirt, even playing with their food can be formed before they are the ripe old age of one. Too bad. The great wild world is already being closed off for them.
But watching those prejudices, and carefully playing at their edges is also part of the fun. Teaching kids to be skeptics should be part of everyone’s curriculum.
Of course, playing with gravity is already on the syllabus. It’s one of the first items for every baby who sits in a high chair. And it’s one of my favorites as well. Try it now, go ahead, just drop something for fun.
The kids represent our future, they are the ones who will take over as we fade away. These pure humans will be slowly trained, constrained, contaminated both mentally and physically, and then finally make their way into the wild where they have to prove their economic and social worth. That’s a lot of stress to put on someone. By the time they make it through, they just aren’t the same person as when they started out.
We battle the forces of darkness for their sake, not ours. Dad doesn’t realize it, but his battle is also their battle, tomorrow. It’s up to you and me to connect the dots, and learn from my Dad in order to help them.
So, enjoy life, play with the kids, and always,
Remember the children.
They are why we fight to survive today.