I gave them life is a conversation around the thought that strangers feel they can try to silence children from simply being themselves.
I gave them life.
All adjectives that would definitely describe my girls. Especially when they are happy and having fun together. They love attention and they know exactly how to get it. I’ve learned to let them live and be themselves because
- I don’t want to squash their spirit and
- *most* people immediately smile when they see them singing or joking around
Emphasis on most. There always has to be that one person to try to squash people back down.
Especially children. The incessant need to silence children is absurd.
Recently, the girls and I were at the grocery store (Aldi of course) and as we are walking through the store the girls are singing Jingle Bells (so what it’s mid-January), making jokes, and saying hello to everyone that will look in their direction. As most kids, they have the need to narrate their shopping trip, ask for everything they can, and hit each other once or twice as soon as I turn my back…because….siblings.
They stop and ask people their names. Delight when people ask them theirs or how old they are right now. And love when someone will listen long enough for a knock-knock joke or other random part of their day (usually it’s that I’m not letting them get a treat).
So, we get through the store. All my groceries have been scanned and I’m bagging my own groceries. (If you’ve been to an Aldi before you know that there’s a long table opposite the registers where you bag your own stuff). The girls are still playfully joking around and being silly. Not obnoxious, just kids. A lady comes up beside us and is bagging her own things. The lady and I catch eyes and I smile. The girls are tickling each other at this point. The lady says “what did you give them”?
The look of disdain on her face says it all. She didn’t want my kids to be having fun and free. She didn’t want them to be children in that moment. What she wanted was for them to be robotic and sit still and not say a word. She wanted them to fit into this cookie cutter mold that behaved children are quiet.
Without hesitation I answered, “life”.
A few months ago, I wouldn’t have answered this way. I’ve been asked this question before in different ways. “How much candy did they have today?” “What did you feed them for breakfast?” “Think it’s time to cut back the sugar?” All comments from strangers met with an awkward glare from me because we don’t even have sweets that often. This is just them.
I simply gave them life. Life where they get to be independent and make their own choices often (within reason, I’m not crazy). Where they get to learn to be themselves and never let others dim their lights. A life where they get to decide what makes them happy and how they are going to shine a light into others with their big personalities. A life where no one tells them to be less of who they are.
So the next time that someone asks you a similar question about your happy, outgoing child, I encourage you to answer the same way.