All of my reminiscing with Disney classics lately has me thinking about childhood. I don’t mind saying that I’ve extended mine by a few years now, with no plan to change things anytime soon. It perpetually amazes me how royally grown-ups can muck up things that are designed to be very simply expressed and understood.
During my years working with small children, I’ve seen then express love in profound ways:
Bringing you a drink that they carefully filled to the tippy-top.
Offering you their best eraser or butterfly hair clip just because.
Drawing a picture of both of you holding hands in green grass, blue sky and sunshine.
A look of concern and a silent hug. Then walking away to let you be alone.
There are many books out there of letters and prayers and quotes attributed to children. Whenever such a book makes it into a crowd of adults, someone inevitably interjects with a lofty air: “Well — obviously, real children didn’t write these. I have a degree in [insert long degree name that no one particularly cares about], so I know these things. These were doctored by editors or coached by parents, just to make a book and bilk money out of the type of people who frequent the Christmas Tree Shop.”
My only advice to such people is to spend some time with actual children. They’ll shock you with some of the things they say. With what they understand about the world and the people in it. For all that I may have taught children along the way, I have learned as much from them — and sometimes, perhaps, just been reminded — about the way things are supposed to be.
I’ve shared some quotes with you recently. Yesterday, I ran across an article offering some quotes from kids ranging from 4 to 8 years old. The children were asked in random, live interviews to describe love — what it is. Some talked about family love. Some friendship. Some took a stab at what they thought romantic love might be. Their quotes may not become famous, with generations knowing their names. But there is real wisdom to be found in some of their replies. I’ve culled out a dozen of them for you here.
When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.
Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.
Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too.
When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
Love is when you tell someone you like his shirt, even when he wears it every day.
Love is when my mom makes coffee for my dad and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.
Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and talk.
If you want to get better at loving, you should start with a friend who you hate.
Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other a really long time.
You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot because people forget.
Say what you will about being dirty or hyper or loud, but kids get it. Or perhaps, as that last little boy noted, we adults just forget.
I hope you’ve been inspired, in some small way, to remember.
If so, do something differently because of it.