Kids are Better than Adults

November 8, 2010

I know that sounds ridiculous. 

Let’s be honest, there is literally nothing any kid can do that I cannot do better.  I can express myself without crying, walk in a straight line, write a blog, tell a joke, and draw a picture better than any kid.  I can totally school any kid at video games, basic math, or metaphysical philosophy.  Kids have few, if any motor skills, ridiculous haircuts, poopy pants, too many boogers, and very little to contribute to any conversation.  Doesn’t sound like kids are good at anything.  I win.

Then Jesus had to go and say that the adults should be like the children.  Adults have never known what to do with that.  I guess we’ve boiled it down to trying to stay naive and believe everything we’re told, because kids are gullible and incapable of critical thinking.

But the more I work with kids and adults, the more I think I understand what Jesus might have meant.  Despite their lack of hygiene and their disproportioned heads, kids have a few things on adults.

Seven Ways Kids Are Better Than Adults

Pro: Kids don’t say, “This is how we’ve always done it.”

Adults can really be sentemental sometimes.  And by that, I mean we’ll defend something to the death, even if it’s broken and useless, because we don’t want to get out of our fifty year old rut and do something new.  Tradition’s great, but since when is it a reason to keep doing things the same?  Revolutions and civil wars are fought and churches are split because “how we’ve always done things” is usually bad.

Pro: Kids are easy to please.

Kids don’t know what’s awesome and what’s stupid.  Sure, they’ll pout and scream about eating vegetables.  But it is very easy to mesmerize kids.  They are literally interested in everything.  The toughest critics in church isn’t going to be the kids.  It’s going to be the adults.  You can literally give a child a paper bag for Christmas, and they are happy.  If I got a paper bag for Christmas, it would be the worst Christmas ever, and I would feel extremely ripped off by baby Jesus.  I wasn’t a very good youth pastor.  I just had kids who were easy to please.

Pro: Kids are resiliant.

You know, I thought some of the kids in my school were stupid.  But no one told me as a kid how much baggage adults have.  Really, give up your Legos and dolls, grow up, and half of us will be angry, divorced, addicted, indebted, slobbering messes.  I thought when we grew up we were supposed to be able to take care of ourselves.  Chances are if there’s something really wrong with a kid, it’s at least partly because an adult in his life is a screw up.  You never talk about an eight year old hitting “rock bottom.”  That’s adults.  All the angry music and violent entertainment kids consume?  Made by adults.  Adults need to buck up, tuck in that quivering lip, and get over it already, like the kids.

Pro: Kids are forgiving.

Kids will overlook a thousand wrongs.  Why?  Because they freaking love people.  It’s as easy as that.  If adults loved each other like kids love us, we wouldn’t have to try so hard to forgive all the petty things that happen to us.  We wouldn’t argue over who deserves forgiveness.  We’d just forgive.  If a kid’s life sucks, they don’t blame their parents.  Adults are the only ones who do that.

Pro: Kids don’t ruin every holiday.

Adults, just take a deep breath.  Now stop crapping up every fun holiday.  Stop arguing about Halloween being “satanic.”  Stop trying to make Halloween “sexy” too; it’s pathetic.  Stop rushing out on Thanksgiving night to get midnight Black Friday deals.  Stop going to the theater on Christmas Day, and spend some dang time talking with your family (and let the theater employees do the same).  I don’t know if Hanukkah gets ruined, but if it is, stop it.

Pro: Kids want to be friends.

At the primary school where I used to work, I could walk down the hall and have kids who I didn’t know strike up conversations with me.  One kid wanted to show me his new shoes.  Another just had to tell me it was her birthday.  A kid from that school, who I didn’t know, sat and talked with me at the library last week.  Adults put up “No Soliciting” signs on their doors.

Pro: Kids can’t help being stupid and annoying.

What hell hath wrought

If a kid is acting stupid or obnoxious, it’s because they aren’t self aware.  Every annoying blight on the planet though is made by adults that should know better, (see: iPhone users, team Jacob, Progressive Insurance commercials, Joy Behar.)  Even the really insufferable kids are there because an adult put them there (see: Miranda Cosgrove, Raven Symone, Miley Cyrus).

Con: Kids turn into adults.

This is a disturbing phenomenon.  All the kids who are busy bringing joy and laughter to the world right now will, in all likelihood, grow up into cranky, messed up adults who blame the world for all their problems, and spend their lives trying to work out their “daddy issues,” if ever there was a bigger cliche made up by adults. 

What have you learned from kids, or what do you think kids can teach adults?  Despite the screaming and the poopiness, what do you think Jesus meant when he told the adults that they needed to become like children?

30 responses to Kids are Better than Adults

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, as well as every other post you put up!

    I just graduated from college in May and am realizing how much pain the real world actually is. Growing up was fun. Being a grown up really isn’t. They weren’t lying! It’s unfortunate, but I will try my best to live with the innocence of a child. I’m sure there are pros to being an adult, I just haven’t figured them out yet. Next post, perhaps?

  2. Pro: Kids still know how to trust God and others.

    The rest of us have years of practice in the art of cynicism, some of which is completely legitimate, might I add.

  3. One of your bests posts, Matt.

    As the father of six kids, all now grown with homes of their own, I have to say that one of my greatest joys is to see them functioning as adults in harmony.

    I would never have thought it when they were “kids”, but now my children are my best friends.

    • John, you couldn’t have known this, but that image that you just painted is my biggest motivation to have children. I know there’s a lot of joy in raising kids, but it’s the image of my children grown that motivates me. I just cannot imagine my life, going into my 50s, 60s, and 70s without kids. Great to hear from you.

  4. Excuse me while I poke out my mind’s eye…you just had to put an image of iCarly for me to look at on this Monday morning didn’t you?!

    All great points. And kids don’t care about money and power and having authority, or 401k’s. When it’s all said and done, they just want their mommy and daddy.

    I think Jesus told us to be like children because they just don’t care about all the stuff we care about. And they’re perfectly happy with simple things i.e. candy on Halloween.

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com
    Jonathan Chang recently posted..236 Retiring my monkey suit

  5. “Kids will overlook a thousand wrongs. Why? Because they freaking love people. It’s as easy as that.”

    You put kids of different ethnicities and genders and socio-economic backgrounds in a sandbox and what will they do? They’ll play together. You put adults of different ethnicities and genders and socio-economic backgrounds on an Earth-sized sandbox and we fight and hate and destroy and generally do not love anyone. This is a great point, Matt. Kids love people. They do not ask a bajillion questions to try and determine if someone is worthy of their love. They ask one question: “Do you want to play?” I love kids!
    Shawn Cornett recently posted..A Jealous Spirit

  6. What have you learned from kids, or what do you think kids can teach adults?
    I have learned a lot from my kids and their friends.

    My now 23-year-old daughter taught me baout 15 years ago that life is about “error and trial, but God cares anyway.” She told me again that other day as she was rejected for a job she really wanted.

    My now 19-year-old used to come and jump on my bed; sometimes before the sun was up saying, “The sun is shinging and THIS is the day that Lord has maaaaaade! My praying is done and today is like Christmas!” I had lost my mother a few days before.

    My 6-year-old teaches me Spanish every day. A few days ago she said: “Dios, he made you increíble Dad! Now what are you getting me for my birthday?” Realizing her motives were a little off, she said, “Dad if you don’t get me a present, I will still love you forever!”

    She also told her sister (after a gun fight in front of our house) “If you carry a gun in your running shorts you’ll shoot your privates off.”

    Despite the screaming and the poopiness, what do you think Jesus meant when he told the adults that they needed to become like children?

    When my oldest was 7, a kid nearly drowned at a local lake. His friends brought him to the beach unconscious. The life guards were scrambling, a nurse was complaining that she didn’t want to get AIDS by giving mouth-to-mouth. Of course we all stood in horror staring at the lifeless body on the sand. My little one went over and laid a hand on his foot and began to pray. Suddenly he coughed a geyser of water and began to breath 10 minutes before the paramedics got there.

    Jesus didn’t want us to act like children, but to just believe what he said and act on it. IE: When was the last time we saw all the elders at a church anoint someone with oil and pray for their healing? James 5:14
    David recently posted..Friday Geek Christmas Gifts Nov 5th

  7. “You can literally give a child a paper bag for Christmas, and they are happy. If I got a paper bag for Christmas, it would be the worst Christmas ever, and I would feel extremely ripped off by baby Jesus.”

    I had to share that with all my friends. This is a great post.

  8. One more thing that kids are better: bowling (and I don’t mean the Wii version – although that’s true too). There is a very real possibility that my 9-yr old will beat me, even though I am trying.

    Children are also better at believing they were meant to be great. Being a Superhero is actually a possibility. Jesus never told us to not be great, he said that greatness in his Kingdom (one that is forever and is always increasing) is received by service.

    And if everyone were great, there would be no room for arrogance, but we’re all great.

  9. Matt, I absolutely, positively, LOVE this post. So much truth in it. (and by the way, there are several video games my kids can beat my pants off in – but that is, perhaps, beside the point) And you definitely had me laughing.

    And NOBODY is better at seizing the moment than a kid.
    Joanne Sher recently posted..Oh- Mercy! – and Barn Door grand opening!

  10. to be vulnerable, transparent and trusting. but without the poopy pants.
    vanilla recently posted..Super Powers

  11. A friend of mine told me the other day that his son, procrastinating going to sleep, comes up with a million excuses for which to call “Dada” into his room…

    among them:
    water, Veggie Tales, to find his Spiderman blankie, for a kiss, and to tell him “dad, i’m not a superhero.”

    It was this last one that gave me pause on Thursday when I heard the story. Because on the one hand, maybe it was a kid running out of excuses to postpone sleep. But on the other hand, maybe it was a child for the first time realizing that if he jumped off the roof, he wouldn’t fly… he’d fall. That when he falls, he doesn’t bleed light… he bleeds blood… and he gets bruises. And getting up gets harder and harder.

    I looked at this kid (in my head, as he was in his bed by this point)and was thinking “damn. he’s making a step right now toward growing up. and it sucks.”

    This is possibly my favorite post. I’ve shared it and shall email it too.

    Thanks.

  12. I laughed out loud a little bit on the first pro – that was good!
    jay Sauser recently posted..…my 90s music monday…

  13. lol well said man. sometimes it’d be better if we *didn’t* act our age.
    mo recently posted..159- The Power of Butter

  14. i want to add that i too loved this post. i’m only in my early twenties, but i can’t wait to have kids…its just so biblical!

    also Pro # 8 – Kids are cute.

    for some strange reason, after reading the post and all comments thus far, all i could think about was 1 Corinthians 13:11. i know, different context, but still, it makes you think about both “extremes” ….kids vs adults.

  15. This post was so refreshing. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty and innocence of kids. No wonder Jesus called them over to bless them.

    Pro: Kids want to be friends. This is so true – they have very few boundaries to keep people out. This is what makes them great and what makes them vulnerable. I guess if we want to be like little children we need to pull down a lot of fences and be more willing to be vulnerable.

    Thanks for the post.

  16. My kids see right through my crap, too. They might still believe in Santa, but they aren’t going to take my “I’m fine, don’t worry about it” as the truth. Even my three-year-old knows exacly when I need a hug and kiss and offers comfort freely, with no strings attached.

    This was good. Thank you. I especially like the “this is the way we’ve always done it” point, because I just got off a leadership retreat, and that’s one of the things that annoyed me most about it, we’re trying to tiptoe around congregational members spouting that exact phrase.
    Kristinherdy recently posted..10 Things I learned this weekend

  17. I used to teach Preschool Worship, and sometimes kids did say words to the effect of “this is how we’ve always done it.” They have much shorter memories and “always” can mean you’ve done it that way twice.

    But they are much easier than adults to convince that change can be fun.
    Margaret @ Single and Sane recently posted..Cognitive Dissonance Day

  18. Great post Matt…I see the same thing as you with your 7 points.
    Jason Cormier recently posted..Soundgarden-4th of july

  19. What a great post! I am a children’s and youth pastor. I get asked a lot by adults how I can handle working with kids or teenagers (depending on who they dislike more). I always say the same thing: “Kids are easy. It’s the adults that are difficult to work with.”
    Jeff recently posted..getting angry with God

  20. Actually, “daddy issues” are disturbingly frequent problem with adults. It’s been proven that a person’s lack of a good father or any father directly relates to that person’s view of God all their life. I totally agree with you that the lack of a father doesn’t give them permission to act out and people are responsible for their decisions.

    Adults raise their children. Some children are a delight. I love having them around, but some children are brats, the by-product of bad parenting.

    I do hold to the ‘no soliciting’ sign. I love speaking to people and fellowshipping with them, but I do not like getting a sales pitch. :o)
    Nikole Hahn recently posted..Fall

  21. Hi! Just popped over from Joanne’s Website, ‘An Open Book’. Great post. Thanks for that – I’ve not known what to make of that either. You make a great point(s) :)

    I’ve subscribed to your neato blog now. (That’s right, I said neato. … I suppose you can guess my age now, eh?) *snap*

    -Kim

  22. This is EXACTLY what I think!
    Us children (I am a preteen girl) usually always get along. We don’t care about others’ races and genders, and we all frown upon racism. We are all one unsung civilazation, and we all support each other, be it talking something out or even giving a less-fourtunate that day’s lunch money. That is how we conduct ourselves, most of the time. Other times, I will admit, we have our sins and cons, but that is usually because we have been wronged by adults or we are afraid of what adults may do to us just because they have more athority. Think the Hunger Games. Some one in the book thought it would be an exellent idea to pick 24 random kids and watch them kill each other just because of some war. See, we are just pawns, no matter where you go!
    I write a lot of stories, and there is an organization called the United Nations Association for the 21st Century Childrens’ Crusade (UNACCC). This is a secret, child-run system in which there are small teams of kids and teens between the ages of 10 and 19 all over the world, from Kentucky to Keyna, from California to Japan. Their main job is to support those in need where the government and adults fail i.e., giving supplies to an overlooked needy village. They are highly intellegent and trained in combat, and have stopped several terrorist attacks!(this is all fiction, as I stated)
    So my point is, anything an adult can do, us kids can do it, and on a good day, mabey better.
    OhandonemorethingbeforeIgo!!
    ‘Aging is nessisary, growing up isn’t’
    – My crush, Sebastian

  23. This is offensive. I’m a kid, and I wouldn’t appreciate a paper bag, either. I perfectly know what’s dumb and what’s cool. Adults are dumb.

  24. you should go away. I don’t look over wrongs that easily! SHUT UP!!

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