Before visiting this country I didn´t like children, at all. In fact, I used to despise them and avoided contact every time I saw one.
If you asked me this question a few weeks ago my answer would have been: The thing is, my experience with children has never been positive. For me, seeing a child only means one or more of these things:
- If another passenger is traveling with a baby, I am not going to be able to sleep in the bus/plane.
- They represent responsibilities I don´t want to have at the moment.
- They simply are little people asking for my food and if I deny it, there going to be a lot of crying and noise.
- If you get two or more together, there´s going to be a lot of crying and shouting, whether it is because they are playing or fighting.
- Questions. A lot of them. About everything and anything. Every second of the day.
- Physical contact. Kids don´t know about physical boundaries (I am not saying they should) so among other, lots of hugging from this kid with boogers all over his faces.
- But, on the other hand, they make you the best version of yourself.
That is why coming to Honduras changed my perception of this soon to be – or not so soon – biased and judgmental adults. But right now they are pure, they see no evil and their actions come from the heart. Of course I still hate them when I can´t sleep on the bus after a 14 hour adventure but hell, I learned so much about them and about myself in the past three weeks I was in this amazing central American country.
How did this sudden change on my perception happened?
Traveling changes your way of thinking, it opens your mindset, or at least that is what everyone who´s traveled for a long time tells you. I am not sure if they say this to feel superior or if they actually feel superior just because they´ve traveled. The thing is, it is not as poetic as some people wants you to think.
Yeah yeah, you grow as a person and you learn a lot about yourself and other people, but that doesn´t happen because you are traveling, it happens because you get out of your comfort zone. If you travel inside your bubble you are going to return home the same person you were before leaving.
And that´s what happened to me in Honduras, I changed my opinion on small humans because I left my comfort zone. I grew to like them and enjoy their company – except when they are crying on my bus – because it was my only option. Most of the time I had two options:
- Endure their company or;
- Sleep outside in freaking Honduras.
Yep, Honduras for me involved a lot of staying in local people houses and since the birth rate here is off the charts, most houses have at the very least 3 kids. So I had learn how to live with kids if I wanted a roof above my head.
Ok, I´m sold Nomad, tell me what and how did you learn.
I am not going to mention names nor places, I already feel like sharing these pictures – even though I have permission from their mother – is as far as I will go.
Kids are selfless
I slept three nights in the smallest house I have ever seen. We shared a bathroom with the other four families around. In that house, I shared the room with two small girls. They taught me children can be delfless and love each other. I learned it by watching a six years old girl can take care of a nine months old baby while their mother was out. They taught me I can carry a baby without her crying and rambling.
Children enjoy life at the fullest
Visiting certain town, I got there right on a holiday. On daytime, some kids covered themselves in oil paint and went out to the streets blowing a whistle and asking for money to support the night´s party. They did this everyday for a whole week and they enjoyed themselves a lot more than what you or me do on a holiday weekend to this fancy hotel by the beach. Children enjoy the simple things in life and they aren´t even trying!
Small People are always learning
Now I know why they ask questions all the time! They just want to learn! They are eager to fill that empty little brain and the only way they can think of is to drain knowledge from this tall and wise people! It doesn´t matter if they are living in a first world city or in a 3rd world island in the middle of nowhere. Kids are thirsty for knowledge and I learnt this by teaching math in a small school; it was just an hour of teaching these kids but damn, I thought I was teaching them how to do additions, but in reality they were teaching me about life. After that we took the teacher´s boat and went island hoping.
Younglings have no prejudice, if they like you, they´ll show it
As simple as that. It doesn´t mean they know no physical boundaries. It is just that hey, you just took the time to play and listen to them and now you expect they don´t want to hug you and be close to you? Most adults are yelling at them or telling them what to do, but the first one to actually engage and give them attention in gos knows how long, is you. So yeah, expect a lot of physical attention form them, and enjoy it, even if the kids is covered in saliva, you can just wash it later.
Human saplings know loyalty and honor
Unlike some – or most – adults. I went swiming with a group of kids, most of them between ten and fourteen years old. I watched them play a weird version of water tag – which I didn´t play or I would have been destroyed by these swimming experts – and I was reminded of my young years but also it struck me that kids have no sense of dishonor, they have no special agenda or deception under their sleeve. They respect rules and disgrace shall fall upon the one in the group who cheats.
These hobbits are worthy of your trust
Most of us don´t trust children with sharp objects or difficult tasks and I really don´t know why, maybe it is because we don´t think they are capable of taking care of things or they will screw up. But the reality is that if you give a kid your complete trust and show him how to do something, they will do their best to complete that task. This 12 year old helped me sharpen mi tree branch and created a weapon with his machete. Yep, it was his machete.
Kids are fun to hang out with once you remember your childhood mindset.
I don´t even think I have to explain that one.
The truth is, we all have a lot to learn from our children, at least I learned big time in the last few weeks. Right now I am in Nicaragua and every time I feel despair I think of the kids, those who enjoy life at it fullest, the ones that embrace every moment and use every second to learn and to teach, those who always…