“How old are you? Like, when’s your birthday?”
I had a chance to sit on the grass next to a circle of kids on one of our campuses. They were waiting for a tardy ice cream truck, and they were so patient. Their topic of conversation was age.
I am not sure exactly when we quit sharing our ages openly with each other. When we are little, each half year is important. As in 4 1/2 or 7 1/2. Those conversations seem to fade in our 20s, and then discussion of age slowly dissipates completely. Until we get older when age once again becomes a source of pride. I hear from Ranch friends all the time who start off with, "Hi Joy, I am 85 (or 86 or 91)!"
Back to the kids waiting for ice cream… They went around the circle asking each other, “What year were you born?” One of the girls in the group said she was 14, so they immediately crowned her “the baby.” The next two were born a year earlier so she happily gave up her title. The real challenge came when the last three were born in the same year. Actually, two were born in the same month. Finally, they got to who was the oldest. He celebrated and got high fives for being the oldest. I’m not really sure why.
But that’s kind of the point.
These kids were having the same type of “getting to know you” conversation as teenagers all over the world. It wasn’t some painful, deep intense examination of personal histories or traumas. Those happen at other times and in other spaces with Ranch professionals. It was a simple, normal conversation all teenagers have with new friends while they wait for ice cream.
These kids, as special and precious and hurting as they are… are just kids.
It matters who is the oldest. Then you can high-five.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
P.S. Nope. You can't ask me. I am in that "middle zone" of don't ask, don't tell. 😊
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