For you parents out there, I am sure you will agree: kids are weird. Why are they weird? Because we don’t understand them and we don’t understand them because we don’t stop and take a moment to try. If I have learned anything about children is that unlike us adults, they live with purpose. As adults, we may not agree with their purpose and timing, but having a purpose is how they learn to grow up.
In my 10-year-old son’s reality, his stuffed animals are his imaginary world. While there are times my wife and I get a little concerned about his love for these little critters, we have decided to let this thing play itself out. He takes them almost everywhere he goes and has names for them all. His bed is littered with these stuffies as he sleeps and I have no idea how he gets a night’s sleep. As much as we groan about them being all over the house at times, they are a part of his life (we also are in awe that our dog hasn’t eaten any of them yet).
Over the past year or so, our son has asked that we take one of his “stuffies” to work with us. I will be honest, at first, I balked at the request. I am a grown man, I can’t be taking stuffed animals to work with me! I denied his request the first few times, coming up with some excuse to let me off the hook. Eventually though, through his persistence, I relented. I started bringing one or two of his stuffies in my gym bag. I felt embarrassed, but I went along for the ride. Then I began to try and understand why he was so persistent in asking me to bring his prized stuffies to work with me.
My son just wanted to be with me.
As I observed his relationship with his stuffed animals, I began to notice that he was adapting his abilities, emotions and dreams with them. He was treating them as he would treat himself. Two of his stuffies are his travelling pals as they have been with him on every vacation he has gone on. A few more are his family of seal stuffed animals that I have to believe gives him comforts in relationships. He has burrowing stuffed animals that perhaps provide him with the comfort with trying to hide from his fears. I am not a child psychologist, but I can understand his emotional attachment.
It didn’t take me long to understand that all he wanted to do by ensuring we take a couple of his stuffies with us every day was to share a little piece of himself with us as we all departed our separate ways for the day. Perhaps, by entrusting us with his most prized possessions, we would be reminded of him and not forget his presence in our lives. I also have to believe that by taking a stuffy to work with us, gives him the confidence to face his day so long as his stuffies are also facing their days with us.
Children are amazing human beings, and we can learn so much from their aptitude to adapt, learn and progress through life. Never question the thought process of a child, only examine your reaction to them. All kids want is to be with us.