I’m a piano teacher, so I spend a lot of my time working with children, thinking up new ways to entertain children, or making games for children. Basically, a lot of my time revolves around children. Over the last few days I’ve been noticing a few things I miss about being a child that I took for granted when I was younger.
- Finding everything really exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited when about plenty of things like when I get post (I mean interesting post, not just bank statements and whatnot) or when there’s a rainbow, or when there’s a cat in the garden (they always run away from the crazy woman running towards them though…) but with children, everything is exciting. I assumed that with the rise in technology, children would be less impressed with little things, but I was wrong. I have a pencil that has a rainbow coloured lead and when I let them use it they’re so amazed that one pencil is letting them write in blue, red, orange, and green!
I live next to the village green, and every day after school there are these two little boys who run onto the green, throw their bags down, and climb this particular tree. They’ve been doing it every day for nearly the past 3 weeks and it just amazes me how much they seem to love it. One climbs up, stands for a second, jumps back down, and then waits while the other one has his turn climbing the tree. One of my students has overheard them talking about it at school – throughout the day they look forward to their tree time, and they run out school actually shouting ‘yay let’s go climb the tree!’ I just love their excitement over something so simple. I wish I had a tree time to look forward to every day.
- Being able to ask endless amounts of questions because you want to know everything. I’m sure you know what I mean here – how children can keep on asking ‘why’ until you realise you don’t actually know yourself, so you just make up some answer that might be right, or you just say ‘because it is’.
The typical question scenario goes something like this:
Child: What colour is the sky?
Adult quickly racking their brain back to their science lessons: Because there are light particles…something about scattering something…defraction? Erm…
Child: But why?
Adult: …Because it just is.
As a child it’s just fun to ask about everything; to point at things and ask any random question about it. As an adult, you can’t really do that, no matter how much you want to. You couldn’t really have this type of scenario:
Woman: Do you like me?
Man: Not in that way…
Woman: Why not?
Man: You’re just not my type.
Woman: Why not?
Man: I prefer really active and sporty women.
Man: ‘Cause I’m active and sporty myself.
Man: ‘Cause I enjoy it.
Man: I don’t know…it’s fun!
Man:… It just is!
Man: Okay, this is why I don’t like you.
- Having someone to do things for you. As much as I’m sure we all love being independent and doing things for ourselves, we still miss having someone to make all our meals, always tidy up after us, let us have days off because we have a bit of a sniffle, or make up some excuse because we don’t want to have to go to someone’s birthday party. There was just something so good about having your mum or dad do all the work for you, or to take the fall for you when Chloe’s mum found out that instead of going to her birthday party you went to the cinema instead (but when Chloe’s birthday parties are just her showing off that she has more toys than anyone else, can you blame me for not going?). But now, everything’s up to us. If we don’t want to go out with friends we have to make up some lie about being so busy we barely have time to sit and have a cup of tea (and then we spend the time we should have been with them sitting watching Netflix while drinking endless cups of tea).
Some of the kids I teach sometimes turn up to their lesson without any music. At 10, I think you can probably think to yourself ‘going to my piano lesson I definitely need to take my music‘ but they still use the good ole excuse of ‘my mum forgot to remind me’.
- Being able to bounce back quickly. Quite often my students want to confide in me about their friendship problems, and I always lend a sympathetic ear and be on their side. It’ll go a bit like this:
Them: I hate Becky. She went and sat with Pippa at lunch even though she said she was going to sit by me, and then I had no one to sit next to. Stupid Becky.
Me: Well, what about Leah? You said you like her – why don’t you sit with her tomorrow?
Them: Yeah, probably. Anyone’s better than Becky. I hate Becky. I’m never speaking to her again.
Then the next week, we’ll have a conversation like this:
Me: Did you have a good weekend?
Them: Yeah, I had a sleepover with Becky and it was so much fun. Becky is my best friend in the whole wide world and I’m going to be best friends with her forever and ever.
Me: I thought you didn’t like her because she sat with Pippa?
Them: No, that was nothing. Becky’s the best.
As we get older, we start holding more grudges and the stage of ‘I’m never speaking to her again’ gets longer and longer until we do genuinely never speak to them again. One of my friends wronged me in the first year of college, and that was her done. Not spoken to her since, and never plan to again. But if she’d wronged me when we were 10, we’d have been best friends again in a week.
- Having my whole life in front of me and feeling like the world is my oyster.
When I was younger I wanted to be a published writer like Jaqueline Wilson. Failing that, I wanted to be a super teacher who everyone thought was the best and who was always showered in presents just for being awesome. In a way, I’m both a writer and a teacher, just not a published writer or a super teacher who gets lots of presents (I’m not sure why getting presents was the most important thing about being a teacher, but at one point it definitely was). When I was 8, I thought I could do anything. I want to meet S Club 7 and go on tour with them? Yeah, I can definitely do that, I’ll just wait for them to find me and beg me to join their band. Now, I doubt myself all the time and sometimes have moments when I think I can’t really do anything so I just give up all hope. I miss feeling like I could achieve anything and everything.
Some of the kids I teach have ridiculous goals, but when you’re speaking to an 8 year old you just don’t have the heart to dash their hopes by telling them that Taylor Swift is not going to stumble across a video of them playing piano and ring them up and ask them to play piano while she sings. It’s an adorable dream, but very very unlikely. Even some of the older ones at 12 or 13 still think they can do anything. I sometimes have conversations that go like this:
Me: So, what do you want to do when you’re older?
Them: I’m going to be a vet.
Me: Ooh, are you good at science then?
Them: Oh no, I hate science. Especially biology. I’m really bad at it.
Me: Okay…So, you like animals?
Them: I hate cats. I don’t really like the little animals like hamsters. I pretty much just like dogs. But yeah, I’m going to be a vet.
As much as I miss all of these things, I’m glad I can see the world how it actually is. I also feel lucky that I can still expeicence and witness all of these childlike ways through my students.
What do you miss about being a child?