The Rules of Childhood

Childhood is full of unwritten rules that for kids, seem to make life more manageable. Adulthood is full of written rules that seem to make life more difficult. “I called it first!”  “No fair. Do-over.”  “Ghost runner.”  “Not it!”  Childhood rules made life so much more enjoyable. No litigation or arguments. The rules were simple, fair, and everyone knew and respected them. Most of us at one time or another yearns for the days of our youth when life seemed simpler. We only had to worry about school, homework, and if our friend had gotten out of their punishment so they could play after school.

Adults often say things like “youth is wasted on the young” and bemoan the fact that children don’t seem to appreciate how good they have it. I believe that children are far wiser than we give them credit for and in some ways, far more wise than we are. I bemoan the fact that too many adults have grown up too completely. The lessons of our childhood would serve us well if only we knew how to apply them later in life. Imagine if we could use the age old rules of childhood in adult situations! For instance, if you find yourself in a meeting at work and the boss says, “I have a very important project with a lot of paperwork and long hours that I need to assign to someone.”  By childhood rules you instinctively yell out, “Not it!” while putting your finger to your nose. Everyone else in turn follows your lead. Boom. Done deal. Problem solved. Because co-worker Bob had a doughnut in his mouth at the wrong moment and couldn’t yell out “Not it!” he gets the job. Or perhaps if you’re involved in a multi-car fender bender as soon as Johhny Law shows up, “So what happened here?” Last one to touch their nose and yell “Not it!” gets the ticket.

Or how about “dibs”?  How many situations in adulthood would that come in handy for? What once saved us the last cookie or piece of cake would come in very handy on the dating scene.

Who here wouldn’t want to yell out, “Do over!” and get a free second chance at a situation you’ve screwed up? You’re out on a date, you have a few too many drinks, your lips get loose and you spill some horrific personal information upon your new romantic interest. Why can’t you call the person up the next day and demand a do-over? You get a new date, and a second chance at a making a good impression. Or how about in bed? Who hasn’t wanted a do-over at least once after something you’ve said or done? (Of course this doesn’t apply to me)

Children are blessed with graciously short memories and tons of forgiveness. Why do adults have to be so uptight in this regard?  Adults hold grudges sometimes for the rest of their lives over perceived personal slights. I think little boys handle these situations with a maturity adults can only aspire to achieve. “Eddie told me that you said my bike was a piece of crap.” “Yeah, so what if I did? What are you gonna do about it?” Pow! Bam! Slam! Kerplooie! Fight over and they’re best friends later that afternoon. Nothing brings two people closer than a little fisticuffs.

What about the ghost runner? That wonderful childhood concept to replace an absent player in a game of kickball. Wouldn’t that be a great concept for adulthood? Don’t call in sick when you don’t want to go to work. Send a ghost runner! “I’m  sorry I can’t make it boss, but don’t worry.  I’ll have a ghost runner at my desk today.” Rather be out with friends than with your significant other? Send your ghost runner! “Yeah, honey, I’m really sorry I can’t make it to your cousins wedding. I’ve got a ghost runner though!” Or for the ladies how about, “Oh, I’m sorry honey, I’ve got a headache. Why don’t you go have sex with my ghost runner. Again.”

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2 responses to “The Rules of Childhood

  1. We have a team meeting this coming Wednesday. I'm totally bringing a box of donuts and pulling the “not it” method. This is gonna be great!

  2. Thanks Vixen. I'm glad someone is still reading here!

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