The kindergarten spirit

I was writing in the public library today when I noticed a boy of no more than six. He was playing in the front area of the library in the way that little kids do, rolling around on the beanbag chairs and saying, “Help, I can’t get up!” and pushing a bright green stool against the beanbag and hiding behind the couch I was sitting on. He wasn’t too loud; he was just doing what kids do, and I only looked up now and then to see what he was up to. A girl who appeared to be high school aged was reading on another beanbag, and we looked at each other and giggled now and then at this kid’s antics. At one point the boy’s father came out from his meeting and scolded the boy for being so loud, then returned to his meeting. A bit later the father returned and told the boy it was time to go, apologizing to the girl and me for his loudness. “Relax, you could learn a thing or two from him,” I said. “We all could.” Sure, we were in a library, the land of sacred books, but the kid was being a kid. There’s no need to suppress that.

Yet that’s exactly what we do as we grow up. We become more conscious of ourselves and the people around us. The days of being ourselves with no regard to the rest of the world, creating without caring about the result, and the ability to simply be disappear as everyone else shows us how we should behave. Aspirations of becoming a policeman or astronaut are replaced by settling to become an account coordinator or an operations assistant. No five-year-old dreams of working in a cube when they grow up if toy lines these days are to go by.

This is the spirit that we lose as we grow older. It’s the spirit that I’ve been told I possess on multiple occasions. It’s the driver of dreams and fuel behind all creation. The kindergarten spirit is what keeps us happy in a world that’s out to make us miserable, and it’s up to us to keep that flame alive.

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