On children’s perception of time

One of our toddler’s favourite places is a small park a short walk away from the house. It has a sand pit, a few swings, a teeter-totter, and other requisite sundries of childhood active entertainment. Most of the time, we are on our own. Even though the park can be teeming with people at certain points of the day, our schedule tends to give us free reign on all of the amenities. Today was different.

Today, there were three children playing in a nearby yard. They must have been bored out of their skulls because they ran over to the park the moment they saw our boy messing around with his shovel in the sand pit. They weren’t very old, ranging between 6 and 8 years of age, I would guess. The crew hit it off and started running around screaming and laughing, imagining they were dinosaurs trying to gobble each other up.

Our son is not three yet, so the others towered over him despite their diminutive stature. This led to one of the other boys to a philosophical revelation he chose to share with me:

“Time flies so fast. Before you know it, you’re four.”

Wow. How very astute. I know I had no care in the world for that sort of chronological inquisitiveness until much, much later in life. But it does remind me that half hour Saturday morning cartoons felt like they gave me enough time to deeply explore an epic tale, and that lazy summer afternoons did indeed last for ever.

Now, days flash by in a blaze of sound and colour, blowing what little is left of my hair to the four winds. Before I knew it, I was thirty.

And that probably makes all of you 60+ folks out there chuckle quietly. “You ain’t seen nothing yet, kid.” I can almost hear you gently admonish.


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