Let’s say there are three kinds of grown-ups. It’s not true, but let’s pretend.
On one side of the scale (that doesn’t really exist) is the grown up who has no time for kids; couldn’t wait to grow up, and has no interest in being reminded of what it was like to be small, weak, and dependent.
On the other side of the scale is the grown up who will always choose to hang out with kids over adults. With a purity of motivation, they prefer the ‘innocence’ of children, the lack of irony, and the willingness to have fun. They aren’t sure they trust the big people.
We’re not sure we trust either of these made-up adult-types. We would prefer the one who lives somewhere in between. The one who loves to kneel down to look a child in the eye, ready to offer some wisdom, but also ready to receive some gift that only a child can give. But this grown up doesn’t reject other adults in favor of kids. They know that the best thing a child can do is grow, and that what we grow into is adults. So they enjoy both the aged and the young, and they have no trouble moving between the two.
After all, if you don’t love adults (and adulthood), then you can’t very well shepherd a little one as they grow. And while we grown-ups always need to be reminded what it means to be child-like, we also need celebrate our own maturity and wisdom, and welcome growing children to join us there.