Jewish Journal


November 19, 2012

Are Adults Just Children (But Worse)?



I came home after work and immediately got into it with my six-year-old daughter about not doing her homework.  She got upset, I got upset and we both went to our rooms.  Later she came to apologize, and I wouldn't accept her apology.  Three hours later I realized I was being ridiculous, about two hours after she did.  We both had long days at work (first grade in her case); we’re very well behaved amongst our coworkers and wanted to come home and relax (except she had homework).  Whenever I find myself in an embittered battle with my six year old daughter I am shocked by how quickly I revert to a child: emotional, hypocritical, controlling, always needing to get my way.  But then wait, this is not the description of a child; this is your average adult! 

This got me to thinking about all the ways we are like children: sensitive, naive, playing dress up everyday, trying to save our money so we can buy the newest toy.  We are jealous, narcissistic, competitive, creative and surprising.  In Los Angeles, every time I see someone in a Bentley or a Ferrari, I think of my children who spend their hard earned allowance on the best Barbie castle and can't wait to show their friends.  I think ”honey, wouldn't you rather do something valuable with that money? Help other kids in need? Or save up for something meaningful?”  Nope, they like their toys and so do we. They like to have fun and so do we.  So what are the differences between adults and children?  Adults are great at rationalizing, in a way that children are not. Adults are craftier and perhaps more self-assured.  On the positive side, adults clean up after themselves or at least have the decency to pay somebody else to do it.  We also have a bigger schoolyard.  Our games our played on a huge socio-political scale and the consequences are more than scraped knees and hurt feelings.  We play bully in the boardroom, baby talk in the bedroom, pick teams in the workplace, and whine when we get home.  So yes, adults are just like kids. My advice: start singing and dancing in the hallways and own it.

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