I was treating myself to a Chinese buffet the other day, because I had managed to make it through the holidays with my sanity intact. Any excuse will do. Any excuse at all.
I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a mother and her son. He looked to be about fourteen, and he was talking about the kind of things that 14-year-olds talk about. Drama at school, I think.
The mother was trying to talk sense into the kid, and at one point she said, “Don’t be silly.”
My first thought was, “Ah, that’s how it all starts…”
It’s true. At some point in life most of us seem to lose our ability to be silly. We stop jumping on the bed, making snow angels, and having water fights while washing the family car. We start worrying more and more about what other people will think. We place too high a price on our own dignity and reputation. We stop playing.
I think this is tragic. How can one feed one’s spirit without clowning around? How many years do we trim off our lives by depriving ourselves of laughter and joy?
I suppose it’s better that that mother said, “Don’t be silly,” as opposed to “Don’t be an idiot,” but still… I hope she takes a little time to be silly with her son. Because it shouldn’t be such a dying art.