All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it. – The Little Prince
As I was taking a ride to work early morning of a Thursday, I sat just beside the window by the right—the seat I always find myself comfortable in—the same place I get to see places pass by me and life unfolds into a new day as the sun peeps just a little bit from behind the clouds.
Then Christmas songs started playing. The Tagalog ones from my childhood and with the chilling cold coming from the thermostat, I gripped my hoodie closer to me and closed my eyes to an attempt for a nap but no—I was taken back to my eight-year-old self when I would run with my cousins and build temples out of blankets and when we would become ecstatic for Christmas: the music, the lights, the temperature, the food, and the people.
Childhood was awesome. It was the time when all I would be bothered about was an assignment or an exam and my favorite time of the day was the afternoon after school for it was my playtime with my friends.
Then I was plunged back to the thoughts of today. Kids wearing make up. Kids dressing like adults. Kids preferring to read romantic stories instead of the classics. Children falling in love at 11 or 12 and eventually becoming parents at 16.
Today is the time when children play together virtually, talk over video calls, and their self worth becomes determined by the number of likes their photos get or their intelligence measured by the number of who’s and what’s and when’s that they can recall. When happiness meant getting the highest score in a video game and art and play meant doodles of imagined colors on a tablet rather than actual ones and music played technically rather than physically.
Childhood is the greatest time in a person’s life as it is the time of innocence and no prejudice. The time when we all believed in the goodness of each other and looked at the world as a perfect home.
Childhood goes by so fast that suddenly, you are transcended to whole different universe that is adulthood—that means more responsibility, love with reservations, life that is worked hard for, goodness that is doubted, and happiness that cannot exactly be defined.
I loathed at the thought that children no longer find joy in the feel of the rain against their skin, the patter of mud as they run through it, the excitement of whether the house made of cardboard box would hold itself together, when playing meant skinning knees for playing tag, and intelligence was appreciated and determined through the different skills one possesses.
If you are a kid reading this, be that child who squats to the sun’s rays that get through the crack on the wall, if only to check if there are fairies passing along; that who tries to catch the breeze and wonder why it’s only felt not touched; that who builds fortresses out of couch pillows and pretend to be escaping from dragons around the house. That kid who actually touches crayons not because the teacher tells you to. That kid who sings emotionally even without being scored.
Be that kid in this world full of hinog sa pilit children.
Childhood is wonderful and eventually, it will be over.
And just like me, there would be a time when all you could do is reminisce the fun and crazy embarrassment you had due to your curiosity and laugh about it.
And I do hope that one day, when you find yourself on your way to work, you will remember a time when you really were outdoors playing with other kids and seeing things and not experiencing what life has to offer through the lenses of your latest gadget.
Being a child is a gift. Embrace it.