Why do we idealize childhood?

I can’t help but stop and wish I was a kid again when my world feels like it’s falling apart. I believe that we all have those “fantasy” lands we go to in times of hardship. Why do we tend to idealize childhood? Because in the moment it seems like a much simpler and more peaceful place to be, almost like an escape.

There’s a line from a Tupac Shakur song ‘Changes’ in which he says, “I’d love to go back to when we played as kids but things changed, and that’s the way it is.” Not only do things change, but they become more realistic. As a child, we aren’t mature enough and knowledgable to know about the “real world.” A child’s biggest worry can range from the flavor ice cream he/she wants to monsters under the bed.

If I really take the time to think about how simple and carefree my childhood was, it turns out there was more to it being “simple” than I thought. I remember there were endless nights when I couldn’t sleep because I thought there was a clown in my closet. I wouldn’t enjoy going in the pool for fear of my older brother playing “shark” and drowning me.

So sure, as a kid our responsibilities and stressors are less mild than when we become adults, but we’ll always have our plates full. As children our parents tell us to grow up and stop acting like a baby, and then we wish to be a baby all over again. It’s almost like a cycle. We can idealize childhood as much as we want, but even children don’t have it as easy. Every once in a while, we’re allowed to dream and escape to that “fantasy” land, and then it’s back to reality.

Never Judge a “Book” by it’s “Cover”

As a kid, I would constantly hear that simple phrase, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” I always thought this referred to an actual book, so I’d always give books a chance. Then as I got older I realized that phrase has much more meaning to it. It stuck with me throughout the years because I’ve always been the one to try and give everyone a chance. I mean, why not?

The other day at one of my jobs, I experienced a perfect example of never judging a “book” by it’s “cover.” I’m sure I experience this all the time, since I meet some amazing people at my job, but this one instance stuck with me and I had to write about it.

These two men came in and they were dressed in all black with extremely baggy pants. In my opinion they looked like “thugs.” I felt that I needed to just give them a chance because for all I knew they could’ve been the President’s nephews.

They walked around and stared at tea pots and then began to walk around the housewares section. I had to bring something to my boss and one of the guys were in my way. I politely said excuse me and he replied, “you’re excused baby.” I found myself having to bite my tongue before I flipped out on this man. Calling a complete stranger that’s a woman “baby” to me is derogatory and out of line. I regretted even giving them a chance and realized my quick judgment of them being “thugs” matched up. I walked back to the register and overheard the two men complaining about the cost of a key.

“Man I don’t got $1.79 let’s go.” They walked out the door and I was able to feel relaxed again. I didn’t want to tell myself that my initial judgement of them being “thuggish” was correct, but I had to.

A few hours later another guy came in who was dressed exactly like the men who came in before. I felt as if he was going to have the same demeanor. He asked me where keys were made and I told him to head towards the back to the service counter.

Apparently he had to wait for ten minutes for someone to come and make his key. I felt terrible and I apologized when I rang him out. He was on the phone and didn’t hear me, so I waited until he was off. I apologized again and he said, “don’t even worry about it you’re fine.” He started talking about how different it is being back in Providence. I asked where he was from and he said a small town in New York.

We continued to converse about his town and the differences he sees in Providence. He told me that everything is open all night in New York whereas in Providence, for example, you have to decide by ten o’clock if you want alcohol, or else the answer is a bar, and he hates bars. He also mentioned that he was shocked at how much can change within a three year period. He told me that three years ago, in Providence, people were so against homosexuality, and now people are way more accepting. “It’s hard being a gay African American male ya know,” he told me, and all I could do was feel exactly for him. Because it’s hard for me to be an adopted Asian American.

Anyways, we proceeded to talk a little longer and then he left. I told him that I hoped to see him again soon and he replied with, “this is definitely my new hardware store home.” I smiled so big knowing that I had just made such a unique new friend.

The point is that I wanted to make a snap judgement on the second guy because of the two men who had come in previously, but without a doubt, he proved me wrong. It goes to show that you can’t judge a “book” by it’s “cover,” until that “book” gives you reason to.