“We ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesn’t interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.”
How Children Fail by John Holt
I thought about this quote when I was watching America's Funniest Home Videos the other night. There was a little boy, probably 4 or 5 years old, in the wedding party at the front of the church. He was wearing a little white tuxedo, and was standing next to a little girl, just the two of them with no other adults nearby.
This little boy was standing there, then just fell over and landed as if he were doing a push-up. He stood up, and then a few seconds later, fell back down again. And again. And again. The some lady comes into the screen, grabs his arm (you know, that "I'm pissed" sort of grab that women do so well?) and pulls him off the steps.
My first thought was, that poor little boy! He's probably been doing what he was supposed to do, and behaving, for a LONG time, wearing a tuxedo that's not comfy. Can we blame a 4 year old for getting bored at a wedding and acting goofy? I know plenty of adults who cringe at wedding invitations because they would rather poke hot nails in their eyes! I love weddings...all the sappy lovey dovey stuff. But to expect a 4 year old to behave and not get bored?
I don't know. Maybe my expectations are different than most. Which brings me back to the quote above. If I'm bored, I sure find it hard to keep focus on something. It seems silly to expect kids to do that, and even more silly to punish them for not.