Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Attraction of “Youth”

Throughout Edmund Morris’ biography of Theodore Roosevelt, which focuses on the years before the Bull Moose became president, Teddy is described as a person with a unique and bold personality.  What strikes me as most interesting is the reoccurring description of Teddy’s child-like characteristics, even when he was in his 30’s.  One person who was fond of Roosevelt, Mrs. Bellamy Storer,  is quoted saying that:

“The peculiar attraction and fascination” of the young Theodore Roosvelt “lay in the fact that he was like a child; with a child’s spontaneous outbursts of affection, of fun, and of anger; and with the brilliant brain and fancy of a child.” (p. 563)

Even today, there seems to be a popular attraction to youth.  Think of all the times you’ve heard people tell teenagers and college students about how they’re jealous of their age, or that those years are the best years of a person’s life?  Think about how willing employers are to hire graduates recently out of school for positions at their companies, while older applicants are just as qualified but not given the benefit of the doubt.  Think of how “cute” people think it is when a 3-4 year old child asks a question or speaks their mind.

At what point in our lives do we go from having all the curiosities of a child to being a “grown up”?  Is there a specific point in most people’s lives where they decide to start acting “mature” and try to fit into the norms of society?  It seems that in most cases, once people mature they become less interested in the world and more focused on a select number of things (for lack of a better word).  Personally, I believe that everybody has the ability keep/reattain their youthful curiosities and habits, but it’s something they have to work on each and every day.  So go ahead and say what’s on your mind or ask stupid questions every once in a while, people enjoy being in the presence of others with youthful characteristics.

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