Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Kids say the most amazing things, don’t they?

I know, we’ve all met that one kid who just always lets something pop out of his/her mouth at the wrong time. You know the one I’m talking about.  But at the same time, the lack of filter and innocence can be amazing… even inspiring.

Once upon a time, when I was about 13, I was watching two little girls. The younger one (age 4) wanted me to color with her.  She kept looking through her big book, asking me if there was one I wanted.  I said “Nope, just give me whichever one you don’t want,” and she said “ok, well I’m gonna try and find one that looks like you”.  And she looked, and looked, going right past all kinds of pictures.  There were fairies, princesses, girls meeting their true love and gazing off into the sunset, watching the clouds go by… she passed all of them with barely a second glance.

Then, there was one. Her eyes lit up as she realized she had found her perfect picture, and she said “She looks just like you!” and passed it over.

This one, unlike many of the other pictures in the book, wasn’t perfect — at least, not in the way the rest of the girls were.  Her hair was curly like mine, the same length, and about as unruly as coloring page hair gets.  Her eyes were squinting from her big smile, with little crinkles underneath and at the sides; she didn’t have the freakishly tiny waist or dramatic curves, no frills, just a simple dress and a happy, freckled face.

She looked like me. Plain and simple.

Watching her glee at finding me in the book, I was amazed at how simply she viewed it, and how much it showed about how she saw me. She didn’t see me as a fairy or a princess, not some perfectly styled person, not prim and proper. She saw me in this happy girl, the one who was absolutely joyous with her wild hair, generous sprinkling of freckles, and eyes that crinkle when she smiles.

In the middle of teenage life, full of worries and stress and figuring out who I was becoming, this little girl showed me a piece of myself I had forgotten: a happy, carefree playmate. She didn’t see my frustration, stressed-out and overwhelmed with zipping ahead in life faster than ever before. She didn’t see me as someone fake, or structured, or all put together all the time. She saw me laughing while I chased her and her sister around, making silly faces to cheer them up, just being… me.

It’s easy to get lost in the madness of life, and want to just brush off these little ones with an “I’ll do it later” or “Not right now,” but you could be missing out on a great experience. Kids see more than most adults give them credit for, and while their thoughts and words can be anything but predictable, there is no doubt about their honesty.

Moral of the story: make time for the little voices in your life, and remember that sometimes, other people see you more clearly than you see yourself.

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