Learning From the Neighborhood Kids

Before work I was putting more food in the dehydrator and researching things for the trip.  The sliding back door was open allowing the dogs to lounge in the sun on the back porch and me to enjoy the breeze and sun as I researched.  The local neighborhood kids were playing a role playing game in mine and my neighbor’s backyards.  This obviously attracted my dog’s attention, which subsequently attracted the kids’ attention.  This resulted in the kids climbing onto my back porch, and us sharing in the fruits of some of my recent food dehydrating and their recent zucchini bread making, and us talking about some philosophy of life.  They were asking me all kinds of questions about dogs, why I don’t eat meat, animals in general, and other random questions cooking in the minds of children today.

One boy, who is nine years old, also has a strong passion for animals and wants to grow up to be a scientist.  Needless to say, we got along well.  During our conversation he made a statement that really stuck with me.  While discussing how much time he spends doing homework, and how much he hates it, and me telling him why he should appreciate it.  He said, “Why?  I study when not asked to at other times, and I do well at school, but homework takes away from my outside time.  You have to have your outside time.”

The statement about the necessity of outside time is very true.  You can slave over your job, education, and other self induced obligations all day, but you have to allot time for your “outside time.”  The time when you get to release and enjoy the activities and things you truly love, whatever that may be.  Why else are you slaving over your other obligations if not to help induce more frequent, or higher quality, outside time?  Quoting a very bright engineer who I have had the pleasure of meeting: “No one lies in their death dead wishing they had spent more time at the office.  Live while you can”

Allotting time for things other than school has been something I have neglected heavily for my past years in college.  I’ve been the guy that blows off everything to focus on school, work, and the things important to my “success.”  It has made me successful academically, but has subsequently greatly reduced the caliber of every other aspect of my life, and this is why this trip is so important to me.  Many of my past friendships and relationships have fallen by the wayside as I focused on what I felt was absolutely necessary, being successful in school.  Don’t get me wrong kids, do your homework and be successful in school, but there are lots of things you can’t learn from a book or classroom.  Some of these things are lessons that are direly more important to your happiness, which is your success.  Like all things in life, it’s about balance and being well rounded.

Not only did the kids learn from me today, but I also learned a lot from them.  These kids, ranging from approximately 4-10 years old, are wiser than many people I meet my age and older.  They were also substantially more pure, and less corrupted by society.  This is why I tend to get along with kids way better than adults.  With future generations like this, and if more of the generation are becoming so enlightened, then maybe there is hope for this world just yet.

Remember, do good, be good, get your outside time, and the time to live it now!

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