Little Eyes
Inside the Outdoors, June 10
, 2011

Looking down, I noticed Scotty running toward the muddy waters, his father a good eight feet away chasing the toddler. It didn’t take long for the gentleman in his thirties to catch up with the one year old youth. When the gent saw that I was watching, he said, “Little kids always like to play where there’s mud.”

Somehow, there is more truth to that statement when you think about it.

When I was a tot, my mother used to complain how dirty I was after I had made my mud pies. I have to admit it was fun regardless of what the elders thought of our adventures.

A number of months ago, I turned on the television and happened to see a young boy stand in front of a doorway looking in. He was wearing a T-shirt covered in mud. His mother questioned him as to what he was doing. His ambiguous answer led to still further questioning. Then his mother asked him if he had been using one particular towel. Quickly, he said he never used any of the household towels. Then the lady of the house turned the cloth around. On it was his facial impression plus a smear of body mud as well. The evidence was there. The lad was silent, his little eyes starring up in disbelief that he was caught and was found guilty as charged.

I have to believe that children are in their own world. They don’t see things as we do. And that works vice-versa as well. Sometimes we adults think kids should act and carry out their lives as we do, but it just ain’t so. There’s that old expression – “kids will be kids.” Sometimes adults don’t see it that way. They want these youth act as adults and it really doesn’t work that way. A six-year-old no way should be thought of as acting as a 20-year-old. And an 11-year-old shouldn’t be expected to walk in the shoes of a person much older than him and so forth and so on.

Did you ever wonder what kids are thinking when they look up at you from a stroller? Here are big heads making crazy expressions, looking down at these siblings. Put yourself in the minds of these small children. What’s going through your thoughts? Let’s put it in “first person” just for the heck of it.

“Oh no, here comes Aunt Mabel again. Look at her. She’s going to make funny faces at me again. I can just bet on it. There she goes. Here come those so-called words – guutchy, guutchy. Guutchy, guutchy, guu. I guess I’m supposed to smile, so to make her happy, I’ll grin. Oh my. What we have to go through to make grown-ups happy.”

It is my opinion that so much goes in those little eyes that leave permanent impressions. Sometimes, I think people don’t take into account just what enters the gray matter of little ones. The world is a monstrosity from their point of view. Buildings, cars and even people are huge as they see them. To lay back in a bassinet or car seat looking all around has to be an awesome sight.

Babies can’t be expected to smile all the time. They have to get used to a certain environment around them first. If I were a tot, I wouldn’t smile most the time either. “Listen Big Daddy, it wasn’t so long I just got here. You’ve got to give me a break!” Hope that makes a little sense.

Did you ever notice that when you give a toddler one or two toys to play with, he or she will treasure those items forever? One little such child I’ll call Anita, was given a little lamb and kitten as gifts. Within ten minutes, she named them and ever since has clutched them to her person and won’t let go of them even when she goes to bed. It’s like they’ve become a part of her. Do you know anyone like that? Kids will take these “inanimates” and pretend they are real. I think it is wonderful children cling to these toys and give them the love and attention their parents have given them. That shows to me that there is an interchange of love taking place, something handed down from people to things. And from my point of view, the great thing is, these kids don’t need any more things with which to play. They are satisfied with a couple of items.

My mother told me when I was little, I had the greatest time playing with the pots and pans on the kitchen floor. I didn’t need endless toys to keep me occupied, or technology to the nth degree adding to my delight – just little things that I had at hand that added to my life’s pleasures.

I think it all comes down to one thing – the perception of little eyes, how youth engage in the world around them and what they see and hear. Let’s remember the age of the young and let them be themselves. As they grow, they will learn and fit in accordingly.

The older play things will probably be replaced by newer and better substitutions that will aid in the growth and education of all youngsters. The mysteries of life will be unfolded.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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