REFLECTIONS – GROWING UP
(March, 1977 issue of the Beachy Banner)
From the time they are born, children are in a hurry to grow up.
“So big” says the baby in his playpen, arms reaching up.
“Let ME” demands the toddler in his high chair, insisting that he feed himself (in his hair, his ears and down the front of his clothing – but some of it WILL make it to his mouth and he will be so proud of his accomplishment).
“I can do it MYSELF” claims the pre-schooler, who feels he is too big to have his mother dress him. Shirt buttoned wrong, pants unzipped, shoe laces dangling—but oh, yes, he dressed himself!
“You don’t have to walk with me anymore” says the kindergartener, asserting his independence.
“Don’t lollygag” you say. “Don’t fool around and be SURE you CROSS at the crosswalks!”
“I KNOW!” he says impatiently. “Do you think I’m a baby or something?”
He bathes himself. He does his own homework. He accepts the responsibility of feeding pets and doing chores. He goes on boy scout camp-outs. He joins the Little League. He collects newspapers and aluminum cans for school drives. He gets a paper route and has to get up early in the morning to deliver them. He earns money and opens a savings account.
He takes driver’s ed and gets his license. He buys his first car. He goes out on his first date.
Everything he does, from the time he is born, is a stepping stone towards his final goal, becoming an adult. Finally, he is there. He made it. He did it by himself.
Only much later, after he’s been there a while, will he look back, wistfully, and wonder why he was in such a big hurry. ***