Every child is fearlessly and wonderfully made. No human life is repeatable. Children are among God’s greatest blessings. A physician who works for a non-profit organization recently wondered what’s most important to kids in life. He spends every day of his own life providing palliative care to terminally ill children. He decided to interview patients between the ages of four and nine (with parental permission, I assume).
If you have children in your life, you’ve likely noticed that they are typically forthright when they speak. Kids pull no punches. In fact, sometimes, they’re brutally honest. (I.e. “That’s the ugliest shirt I’ve ever seen!”) While they may lack tactfulness at times, most children are kindhearted and genuine. Their answers to the doctor who asked them what they loved most in life and what was most important to them are humbling. We adults should take note and learn from their wisdom.
What’s most important to kids and what’s not
If you discuss life goals and matters of importance with adults, you’re likely to hear some pretty self-centered comments. It’s not uncommon for grown-ups’ goals to include becoming independently wealthy, traveling the world, losing weight or meeting the man or woman of their dreams. Such issues are perhaps irrelevant to kids. The following list shows what’s most important to kids (which, in my opinion, should be more important to adults, as well):
- The majority of children interviewed told the doctor that spending time with their family was the greatest part of their young lives.
- Surprisingly, none of them mentioned watching television or playing video games or the like.
- Kindness has apparently made a difference in these young lives. They all mentioned nurses, friends and family members whose kindness has helped them cope with their illnesses.
- Interestingly, many of the kids said they wish they had worried less about what others think of them. So, comfort in being themselves is part of what’s most important to kids.
- Eating ice-cream ranks high among life’s greatest joys! The doctor who interviewed his patients said every single one said ice-cream made their life great!
The children also said that what’s most important to kids is getting lots of hugs. Hugs from friends, family members and nurses are especially helpful when they’re in pain or suffering with their illnesses. We adults could probably use a lot more hugs and even some ice-cream in life!
The beach is also what’s most important to kids
Long ago, doctors would send patients to the sea shore as treatment. Ample evidence shows that sea water, sunshine and fresh, less-polluted air does wonders for the immune system. The kids told their doctor that going to the beach and splashing in the water has brought many of them great joy. They also loved when people, especially their dads, make them laugh. Another life experience they found most important? The children say one of the things they love most in life is when their parents or siblings read to them.
Your kids want to spend time with you
Don’t be too hard on yourself as a parent. So, your neighbor goes to Disney World every year and you can barely afford groceries. Your sister’s kids have the latest greatest personal gaming system and yours have an outdated Wii. Most of the kids in your child’s class have their own cell phones. So what? The answers the terminally ill children gave in their interview show that these things are not what’s most important to kids.
Your children want to spend time with you. They want to laugh with you and read with you. Kids want to hug you. They also want to eat ice-cream with you.
What’s most important to kids should be most important to us
I wonder what might happen if adults worried less about money, work, self-image and other common ‘adult’ issues. What might life be like if instead, they were to focus on family time and enjoying the outdoors? What if adults spent more time hugging those they love and enjoying simple activities like reading? Okay, so ice-cream might not be the healthiest food choice but it does bring out the child in all of us; doesn’t it? I ask myself: If I were told I had a short time left to live, what would I count as most important in my life?
What’s most important to you?