THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KIDS AND ADULTS? SHOELACES
Luke Toulson has cracked nature's code on kids v adults...
I have heard it said that puddles represent the greatest difference between parents and their children: a child will go out of their way and often into the middle of a busy road to jump into a puddle, whereas an adult will avoid a puddle even when in a car.
But in my opinion, the greatest difference between parent and child is our attitude towards an undone shoelace.
Tell a child that their shoelace is undone and they will look at you as if you have utterly missed the point of life. ‘When I grow up there aren’t going to be any jobs or affordable houses or reliable news sources or free health care or antibiotics or pensions or polar bears, but for now I live in a world of thrills and spills devoid of admin and lists and bosses and cooking and shopping and dropping people off and picking them up and in-laws and remembering to do things and forgetting to do things, so let’s not speak of undone shoelaces.’
But as parents, we may not know much, like what time our kids should go to bed or what to tell them about religion or the answers to any of their homework questions, but we do know that a shoelace is supposed to be tied. We have probably even at some point seen a 70s safety video involving a clumsily staged shoelace incident.
Maybe it is because we feel there is so little we can actually affect in the world. We’re rarely in control of our finances, we’re hardly nailing our careers, and whether we have any real positive influence on the lives of our children is little more than pot-luck. But here is something we can physically do. Something we can get done. Your child’s shoelace has been tied and their chances of falling over has been dramatically reduced.
What follows is the most extravagantly exaggerated performance of ‘not giving a fuck’ you'll ever see
If your child cannot tie their own shoelace, your entire world is put on pause while you set everything down and bow at the feet of your tormentor to tie their shoelace. If your child is older, and you request that they tie their own shoelace, what follows is the most extravagantly exaggerated performance of ‘not giving a fuck’ you are ever likely to witness.
The dream is, of course, that one day your beloved offspring will reach an age when they no longer require being told to tie up their shoelaces. I can report that this stage has not yet been reached aged 15 in my household.
Whereas, if an adult notices their shoelace is undone, they will stop whatever they are doing to retie it, whether they are officiating a wedding or presenting the closing argument for the defence. Ask yourself, when was the last time you had to tell an adult their shoelace was undone? Exactly. It has never happened!
Because, while most of us are woefully behind with paying the bills and replying to emails, we are 100% on top of our shoelace tying responsibilities. Often even preemptively re-tying a shoelace if it looks a little loose.
Now ask yourself, how many times have you had to point out to a friend that their flies are undone? It’s more than shoelaces, isn’t it? What questionable priorities we have...