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What's wrong with acting your shoe size?
We've all heard, "act your age, not your shoe size." It's what kids or teens say to each other to make fun of them when they act younger than they are. My question is, what's wrong with acting younger than you are? And, shouldn't we all do that sometimes? I'm 58 and I'm not sure what that means about how I should act, but I do know that my shoe size is 7 and I know how to be that age. It means I can swing on swings at the park, I can build sandcastles at the beach, I can laugh with abandon when something is funny, even if it makes me snort a little, or pee just a tiny bit. When my girls were little, acting like I was my shoe size meant I could build snow folks, sled and play board games with my daughters and even indulge in a Barbie world or two.
Our lives fly by and if we don't take the time to act like idiots once in a while, we miss a real opportunity to have fun. Parents often correct their children about being "silly" or acting like a baby and I think that may be a mistake. Why hurry them to grow up?
The power of humor cannot be overstated. I don't know if a sense of humor is inborn but I don't think it is. I think it's something you have to learn and I can't think of too many more important things to teach a child. It should be part of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others.... oh, and make 'em laugh, too."
Not only do I think we ought to let our kids be silly and to enjoy humor, I think we ought to get right down there on the floor and join them. Or, we ought to at least be able to sit back and watch the show and let it bring a smile to our lips. I believe that if we raise kids who stay kids as long as they can, they become adults with enhanced senses of humor and better attitudes about life. As they once said on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," ... "a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." Nothing wrong with that at any age.
What "age inappropriate" activities do you still like? When was the last time you indulged? What are you waiting for? And what can we do to keep little kids younger, playful, and gleeful a bit longer? How insure a sense of humor in kids?
Alexis Writes: Even in high school I always enjoyed swinging on swings and hanging at the playground in general. My friends and I would go to playgrounds at night (yes I knew it was illegal as the parks were "closed" but we weren't hurting anyone) and slide down the slide and hang on the jungle gym. One thing I think we discourage kids to do as adults by not acting silly is that we are encouraging them not to take risks. We don't want them to do something where they can get hurt, but sometimes that means having no fun. It's a balance they should learn from us.
People say that everything in life can't be fun. That may be true but how much fun you have is often in your control. If you choose to have a good attitude, many things in your life can be fun. I love my job because I work hard to make it fun for me and the kids. We sing and laugh together. One thing all my students agree is that I'm funny. They know that it's important to me that they have fun while they learn. Teaching your kids to have fun and laugh is a life skill, a coping mechanism, and a way to connect with people. The last time I probably acted ridiculous was two hours ago when I sang: " Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down you're rockin the boat!" to a boy who's notorious in my class for not staying in his seat. For most adults this would be outrageous behavior, but in my classroom it's the norm, and it's fun. We also have freeze dance every day. In the beginning most kids are shy and don't dance very much. Now that we've been doing it for a while they are completely comfortable busting a move. I love dancing and often indulge in it. I dance around my house all the time full throttle, holding nothing back. There's been many a time my husband has come home and walked in on me really giving my all singing and dancing to my current favorite song. I don't mind being discovered that way. It's one moment where I feel completely myself and happy. How many adults can say that about what they do? I don't know about the seltzer, but the song and dance I am down for.
Tamra Writes: Okay, numero uno, no kids or teens EVER say "act your age, not your shoe size," unless they're singing a Prince song. Let's just make that clear. I love to act silly, although I get not wanting to embarrass yourself. I end up embarrassing myself without doing it on purpose, and for other people who are like that, I could understand them not wanting to do it on purpose. That being said, it can be fun to act completely out of control and crazy like you don't care what anyone thinks. We dance in my classroom too and often the kids are really shy at first. As soon as they see me embarrassing myself (hardly, I am an awesome dancer), they are more willing to bust a move or two.
Shira and I often end up having an impromptu dance party in the house and it's so fun, we like to video tape it so we can watch it later and laugh. It's good clean fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. No, I'm not going to put seltzer down my pants, although I will eat a gross combination of food just for kicks. I think adults need to stop worrying so much about what people think of them, so kids can learn to do the same.
The last time I indulged in ridiculous behavior? Probably yesterday, definitely at least once this week. Although I think at first people feel uncomfortable even just watching others let loose, eventually they loosen up and are at least smiling, or even laughing. Being silly is fun for everyone. Now, I'm a 5 1/2/ 6 shoe size, and I'd like to be either of those ages. I'm already lying and saying I'm only 21, what's a few more years to lie about?? I love to play!
Shira writes: I totally agree that no one under the age of 50 has ever used the expression "Act your age, not your shoe size." That's something easily-annoyed librarians say when you're being too loud in the fiction section. Somewhere along the line, I think I was in college, I decided I could have a lot more fun if I stopped worrying about being embarrassed. Now I'm known as the teacher who writes songs, hosts math karaoke, and always wears a pumpkin hat on Halloween. We have a lot of fun in my classroom, and sometimes I forget that I am not one of the kids. In addition to the spur-of-the-moment living room dance parties with Tamra, my grade partner and I have instituted a before school Friday morning classroom dance party for the teachers on our floor.
When I have a bad day, one of my favorite things to do is go to the bookstore, sit on the floor in the kids' section, and read children's books to myself. It seems weird, but the silly stories make me feel better. I am also "that girl" that you pass on the highway who has her music turned up all the way and is singing at the top of her lungs and car dancing as if no one can see her. It's even more fun when I make eye contact with the people next to me and smile, just to let them know that I'm not embarrassed to be caught in the act of being silly.
My shoe size if somewhere between 7 and 7 1/2, and I think it would be a lot of fun to go back there. I also have some really great shoes.
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