As my grandson and I were leaving my house for the daily trip to his school, he asked me if I knew how my garage door opener worked.
Before I could attempt an explanation, he proceeded to tell me how a hidden piece of plastic pushes down on the button light when you push on the wall-mounted opener. He continued, "The signal that creates then is sent up this wire, Grandma, and you can see it goes up and across the ceiling into the door opener. That tells it to lift the door."
Wow. Did I mention we were leaving to drive to kindergarten? And that he is 6(barely).
This took me back to experiences I had with his now-33-year-old father. From the age of 5, he would educate me and correct me on matters of physical mechanics. Now, before you begin to write me off as an addle-brained granny, let me tell you that I used to work for Bell Labs. I used to program complex computers. So, being corrected by a pint-sized boy never seemed to sit well with me.
How could a little boy know more about things than me?
I was constantly told I was "doing it wrong," by my young son. He was invariably correct. My then-little-boy (correctly) told me:
- How to change the belt on the vaccuum cleaner
- How to assemble a new lawn mower
- Our garage door refused to open because the spring was broken
- How to put a new deadbolt lock in the back door
Now I wonder if the cycle is repeating itself - and whether my grandson's parents will be more willing to believe in his pronouncements?
So what are things kids can do better than adults, I wondered?
All of this made me wonder if there are some actual physical or mental advantages that children have over their elders? Indeed - here are a few of the kid-advantages I have found:
Kids laugh an estimated 300 times per day. Adults only laugh about 20. I think we need to seriously work on our view of the world.
Young children can hear from 20hz to 20,000hz sounds. Most adults have some noise-induced hearing loss.
As we grow, our sense of decorum gets in the way of imagination. We don't want to appear foolish to other adults.
Kids, however, can spin the wildest tales and believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. They think it is fun to create a fort out of sheets and pretend it is a secret hideout.
New respect for kids
When I think of the fun, laughter and creativity my grandkids have, I have a new-found respect. I want to look for those abilities they have and not only encourage them - but, learn from them too. I think this quote from Pablo Picasso is right on target:
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."