Being a kid is a lot harder than we give them credit for. Sure, there are less bills, more naps and better snacks, but there’s also a constant load of information, life lessons and insight being thrown their way at every angle. Teachers, parents, preachers, books, movies and music are all trying to explain their new adventure in this thing called life to them, and their place in it.
But sometimes, those lessons don’t hit you until you grow older and revisit them. There’s a layer of depth that washes over our youthful minds and we completely miss it. In particular, Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends can still hit you right in the feels and force you to say “HOW DID I EVER MISS THAT?!” or “THAT’S WAAAAY TOO HEAVY FOR A KID TO UNDERSTAND!”.
Whichever side of the coin you are on, take a look at just how moving, prophetic and gut-wrenching Shel’s wisdom was when you were told all of this as a kid.
1. Losing Pieces
Talked my head off
Worked my tail off
Cried my eyes out
Walked my feet off
Sang my heart out
So you see,
There’s really not much left of me.
Feeling things is exhausting! And being an adult makes you realize that it can feel like you’re losing yourself with each passing emotion and day. But remembering that tomorrow is a new day to start over, give 100% of yourself to the world. Honesty and sincerity makes being alive a lot easier.
She had blue skin
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through.
Then passed right by —
And never knew.
All of us deep down are scared of what everyone else will think of us, but we often forget that everyone else is thinking that same thing. Day in and day out, we put on our masks and search for sincerity, only to realize that it’s usually been right in front of us all along.
The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
“Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.”
New environments are always going to be scary, no matter how old or how young you are. But overcoming those challenges, going into the light and spreading our wings can help us see farther and fly higher.
4. The Voice
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long.
“I feel that this is right for me.
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you –just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
This is the biggest reminder that hit me right smack in the gut. We’re warned as children about the dangers of peer pressure, but don’t take into account that that kind of pressure can even affect the most benign of decisions in our lives. Be sure to keep reminding yourself that at the end of the day, you’re in charge of your life and your choices. NO ONE can take that away from you.
Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me.
Showing our smiling faces makes it easy to get by in our daily lives. From nonchalantly saying “I’m fine, how are you?” to nodding and agreeing when asked if you’re doing alright, we often feel as if it’d be burdensome to open up in casual conversations.
If we had hinges on our heads
There wouldn’t be no sin
‘Cause we could take the bad stuff out
And leave the good stuff in.
Unfortunately, we don’t come pre-equipped with a hinged head. All we can do is try to be the best version of ourselves and try to make sure that our head is filled with good stuff constantly. Sure, it doesn’t erase the bad stuff. However, we can control the thoughts that go in and stay there. Only let good things in!
If you were to pay a visitation to your younger self today, what other insights would you share? What was your “Giving Tree” and what have you done as an adult when your sidewalk ended?
Share this timeless wisdom from our childhoods today!