Enjoy Yourself, It's Later 
Than You Think

 

by Allen Klein


Waiting for my plane one morning, I was not aware of any children nearby, only adults reading their newspapers, chatting with others or gazing into space. Suddenly there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that the flight had been canceled. Disgruntled, the passengers made their way to the counter to be reticketed. Two children, perhaps six and seven-years-old caught my eye. They were the only ones not complaining. They were the only ones who seemed to be having a good time in spite of the situation.

Sitting on the floor, they reached into a small carry-on bag, pulled out a handful of plastic Mutant Ninja Turtles, and proceeded to enjoy themselves. When they tired of this, they traced the lines of the carpet with their feet. They repeatedly counted the number of colors in each section of the rug. And they made up a game by hopping from one pattern to another.

Kids can amuse themselves with almost anything. I remember my mother telling me that when I was very young, we would sometimes visit a distant aunt. I would immediately go into the kitchen, take out all the pots and pans from the cabinet and proceed to play with them for hours.

The lesson adults can learn here is that the world is filled with things for our enjoyment. The trick is to open our eyes and look for them. "On the whole...kids are pretty lucky," writes Michael Burkett, author of The Dad Zone. "They can find a penny on the sidewalk and feel rich. They can find a fossil-shaped rock and feel like Indiana Jones. They can find an anthill and feel like God." Kids find enjoyment in the simplest of things. You can too.

In Woody Allen's movie musical, Everyone Says I Love You, there is a scene in a funeral parlor. Suddenly all of the corpses jump out of their coffins and start to sing and dance. The song they perform is "Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think." Kids don't need to learn the song's message, they are masters of enjoyment. But grownups do. So enjoy yourself, it's...

 


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