Sunday, July 12, 2009

Talking to Children

I always address kids when they come in the store as separate individuals from their parents. It freaks them out. Kids are not used to adults talking to them. Often they hug Mom or Dad's leg hard and shyly hide. After a short time, when they observe and decide I am not actually dangerous they will come out and start talking. Sometimes we have a great conversation, much to the shock of the parents as kids can be very candid and often say delightful and embarrassing things about their lives and their families. When I was a kid I often felt marginalized and not taken seriously and all of my life I've tried to give kids a chance to share their views and like Art Linkletter used to say, kids say the darnedest things. A little girl opened up the other day to tell my Mommy liked Jack better than Daddy and they had to live in a new house. She said it was fun because everyone was buying her things and they never got mad but Daddy doesn't like Jack anymore. Dad was right there, turning red but I knew this was a revelation for him; his five-year-old daughter was way more self aware than he thought. He learned a lot that moment that I hope stuck with him: kids hear everything and understand a lot more. It happens quite often that the parent is surprise by what their kids say. Maybe they should talk to them more too.


  1. Glad you're back Birdman,
    You are so right about kids and talking to them.Three phrases used in pauses can really open them up,"Tell me more". "And then what happened?""Really!"So many people treat kids as little adults forgetting the wonder and magic of a child's mind ,like a sponge soaking up and then sorting out what he/she hears.They are delightful to listen to. Usually.

  2. I am glad to see your blog back too!! I know what you mean about the hiding behind legs. What a sad statement of the times when a child can't be free to talk and share his wonderful mind but instead he lives in fear. I just wish he would keep his sticky hands off the mirrors!!

  3. I always try to engage the kids - it also helps keep them from touching everything in the store. If they are talking tome - they are busy, at least for a short time. You are definitely right - I can learn a lot in a short time!!!