Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner, on March 18th, 2014.
There’s an adage that goes something like “as people age they become more childlike.” I’m pretty sure it’s not meant as a compliment. From my point of view…I think the adage may be correct, but for very different reasons.
Let’s take kids first. Kids are naturally inquisitive and want to know everything about everything. If you are a parent you must remember the constant “why?” from your kids when they were young. They want to know how it works, where it comes from, what does it do. Watch a child in the woods or the backyard or along the seashore. They can be fascinated and spend lots of time looking at moss on a rock, a leaf, a fish in a stream, a bird in a tree, a special shell found on the beach, looking closely at all the kinds, colors and shapes of grains of sand on the beach and don’t get them started on tide pools and museums. They can be fascinated by a book and read it or want it read to them over and over again because they keep finding new things in the story. They plant a small backyard garden and are fascinated by nature as she reproduces herself in those vegetables that they planted. This is kids being kids.
So what happens when they become seniors? They do the exact same thing. They want to know how it works, where it comes from, what does it do. But this time the interests are much broader. Take a look at the residents of Panorama. They go to lectures on nature, science, art, music, politics. They take trips to see new things, places and take the time to learn about and see something new. They attend performances, discuss books at book club, take nature walks, and plant those same gardens at the Pea Patch to see nature reproduce herself and enjoy the rewards of their work.
This is seniors being seniors. Kind of like kids huh?
Another thing about kids is their ability to believe. Kids believe in fairy tales, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, monsters under the bed…some good, some bad but their imaginations, their sense of wonder is always there making their lives interesting and exciting. Here’s an example.
In my past I was a ride operator at Disneyland. On a warm spring evening I was working on the Submarine ride. The sign on the front of the ride said, “Disneyland Submarine Ride. A Voyage Under the North Pole.” I was standing outside the ride answering questions and guiding people into the ride when a young man around 7 came up to me. He wanted to know if the trip was really under the North Pole. Trying not to break the magic I said yes and told him I thought that he would like it. He asked me how long the trip was and before I could answer he said that he had read that subs can go under the North Pole but that they were gone for months and that he and his family were on spring vacation and he had to be back at school on Monday. I told him we would get him back on time. A kid who believed.
I have another Disney story, very similar, but this time two senior ladies. I think you will see the parallel. This time I am working at Pirates of the Caribbean. Standing outside again talking to the guests when two ladies, perhaps early 80’s, came up to me and said they had a question. One of them went on to tell me how much they liked the ride but wondered about something. She described the beginning of the ride in the bayou with houseboats and the fireflies in the trees. She wondered why the fire flies didn’t fly away. These ladies were believers and were curious. Kind of like a kid right?
I told her I knew that answer. Once again not wanting to break the magic, I told them they were giant Brazilian fireflies that we brought to a farm that was behind the park. That they go through six months of training so they learn to fly in one spot and that it costs about $5000 per firefly for all of this. She turns to her friend and says, “See Irma I told you it was something like that.”
Now that’s a believer and someone with a sense of wonder. So maybe the adage is true, kids and seniors really are a lot alike, and that is a compliment.