From the Archive — From the August 2015 issue

Out of the Mouths of Babes

by a School-Teacher

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One day my schoolchildren, aged from seven to eleven years, wrote compositions on the subject of “Grown-ups.” The word had been written on the board, and they were told to write whatever idea it brought to their minds with the promise that the compositions would not be read aloud in class. They had no chance to talk it over with the other children, nor much time to think about it in the bare half hour allowed them. These papers, sixty-one in number, were brought to me uncorrected, and I read them with much interest and a little dismay.

Let me begin with a few general descriptions:

“You are a grown-up person when you are married or over 29. When you are grown-up you can bos yourself.”

Letitia’s definition is even briefer: “Grown-ups are people who boss you.”

Agnes says that grown-ups are “very much different than children. They think we are cold when we arn’t and make us put on coats and hats when we don’t want to. They make me very mad at times and other times make me very happy but never mediom. They are either very quite or very noisy. They don’t have as much fun as we do. Their hair is always fixt and hands washed. It has always been a mistory to me how they do it.”

On the other hand, Lucy says that “grown-ups are just children that have stretched” — a surprising point of view for a child of eleven years.

She continued: “They are nice most of the time. But you’ve got to be careful. They get cross quite a lot. They are always talking grown-up things, stock market and such. They are everlastingly going to meetings and luncheons and stuff. They’ll have parties and play contract bridge, what fun do you get out of it?”

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