There are certain adult truths that kids never believe, no matter how much adults assure them they're telling the truth. I remember all the things my parents and teachers tried to tell me about growing up and I never believed them. To me, there was nothing more awesome than being an adult, and no one would ever convince me otherwise. They were just trying to hoard all the adult fun times for themselves. Now that I'm an adult, well … I wish I'd put more stock into all of those adult truths.
One of the most fundamental adult truths that children never believe is the way time flies. When you're a kid, a week is like a year; a month becomes a decade; and a year is just interminable. Those 9 months you're in school stretch on forever, and while summer always flies by too fast, it still seems like an entire age of freedom. Once you graduate high school, however, time starts to speed up a little. When you're in your twenties, you start to realize that the weeks are flying by like minutes. I shudder to think what's going to happen to time by the time I'm 40 or 50, but I know I wish I'd listened to my parents and savored time when it moved like molasses.
I have no idea why, but I remember being a “precocious” (read: bratty and smug) 12 year old, swearing to my mom I was moving out the very day I turned 18 so I could be free to do whatever I wanted. I completely ditched that way of thinking long before the age of 18, of course, but many kids don't. They're convinced that 18 is a magic number, that you get a membership card into the wonderful world of adulthood on your birthday. Not so much, kiddos. In fact, I know a couple of 30 year olds who are less mature than most teens.
Kids will never believe this. Never. They fight against naps because they think they're missing something, and there's nothing adults can say to convince them that they'll one day be willing to trade their firstborn child for thirty minutes of rest.
My mom's favorite story involves a 7 year old Lyndsie begging for a pair of Nike Air Jordans with the pump, being told that $100 was too expensive for a pair of shoes I'd outgrow in two months, and then very audaciously informing her that she could use a credit card because that's what it was for. This is why it's so important to teach your kids the value of a dollar; otherwise they'll never believe they won't want that $500 phone if they have to pay for it themselves.
More and more today, we hear how unhealthy it is to eat in front of the television set. Parents have been telling their kids that for years, but they just think you're trying to ruin all their fun. They won't believe this particular truth until they're old enough to read health reports.
When children get bullied by their peers because their clothes aren't designer, they're too fat or too tall or too thin, their hair's different, they have a different religion, or they like a different gender than they're “supposed to,” they don't believe it will get better. They can't; all they know is the pain of the moment, the pain of being different and of being teased and tormented because they somehow aren't what their peers think they should be. But it will get better, and this is one adult truth you have to impart to children over and over and over again. You have to make them believe this.
This is geared more toward teens, but it's still true. Kids may think that smoking and drinking are cool, grown up activities, to the point that they're tempted to toy with the forbidden and sneak around to get booze and cigarettes. They don't believe that once they're 18 and 21, respectively, and legally allowed to smoke and drink, they won't be even half as interested in doing so.
The grass is always greener, right? Some days I'd give anything to go back to being a kid; at the very least, I'd love to have that carefree attitude again. No responsibilities, no real concept of time, no idea about things like student debt or the exorbitant cost of dairy products (mom and dad, I am heartily sorry for all the cheese I wasted on my Barbie dolls; stalkers, don't ask). Is there any adult wisdom you wish you'd paid attention to as a kid?