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‘You are just like grown-ups’: The different kinds of grown-ups in The Little Prince

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Have you ever wondered why some kids don’t seem to respond to you the same way they do to others? They seem to like others more and have a particular way of making an adult feel disliked. In the novella, The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery fleshes out seven different adults his character, the Little Prince, meets as he travels neighboring asteroids. Know which kind of grown-up kids think you might be.

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Asteroid 325: THE BOSS
This planet is inhabited by a King “clad in royal purple and ermine.” He is seated on a simple but majestic throne with a magnificent air of authority. For him, all people are subjects and he does not tolerate insubordination. This he can demand because he is a good king; he gives reasonable orders.

Do you like to give orders to your younger siblings or to your nieces and nephews whenever you have a chance? Or before you play with them, do you first ask them to do something for you? Then this is how they see you: as the bossy grown-up. They will make every effort to not play with you at all (unless they really have no choice).

conceited man

Asteroid 326: THE ARROGANT MAN
In this planet dwells a man wearing a queer hat. He thinks highly of himself and believes that he is the most handsome, the most intelligent, the richest and the best dressed man in the planet. The conceited man believes that other people are his admirers. And whenever someone admires him or claps his hands for him, he cannot help but receive the gesture by raising his hat.

Are you always checking your face in front of a mirror? Are you always conscious of your hair and clothes? Will all hell break loose if a kid accidentally spills Coke on you? Kids don’t like to hang out with someone full of themselves. Children want the attention towards them. Thus, witty and naughty kids would love to pull a prank on you. Just for the heck of it.

the drunkard

Asteroid 327: THE ALCOHOLIC
This is inhabited by a tippler who drinks in order to forget that he is “ashamed of his drinking.”

These are the grown-ups who loves to party (a lot!) that kids would either veer away from because they are mean when they have a nasty hangover, or they will make fun of them (like drawing on their faces as they sleep after a night of partying) because that is how they can get these people’s attention. If you have younger siblings, it is good not to set an example such as this. Or they might just follow your footsteps as they grow up.

5.0.2

Asteroid 328: THE TYCOON
A businessman lives in this planet and declares to the little prince that he owns five hundred and one million, six hundred and twenty-two thousand, seven hundred thirty-one stars. He is greatly inclined with accuracy and does not care so much about trivial matters.

These are the workaholic grown-ups. After a few attempts, kids would bother them especially when they are around their play area. They will either ask them about what they are doing or rattle away with their stories or artworks they want to boast about. But when all their efforts go unnoticed, they will stop and will look for someone else. If you are a parent, I suggest you make time for your kids or you’ll regret missing out on those moments they wanted to be around you.

5.0.2Asteroid 329: THE ALTRUIST
This is the smallest planet among all. The space is enough only for a lamp and lamplighter whose work is to light and turn off the lamps. Out of all the people the Little Prince met, the lamplighter is the only one that thinks of others more than he thinks of himself (light the lamp) and at his expense too (he hardly slept).

These are great playmates for kids. They will make time for you and all your quirks. But unfortunately, they can only handle one kid at a time. So kids will fight for their attention at all cost. Let the best and cutest kid win.

5.0.2

Asteroid 330: THE RIGID PERSON
An old geographer lives in this planet that is ten times larger than the last one. This old man claims that he knows about cities, rivers, mountains, but only from the account of the explorers who came to visit him. He has not left the planet since because he insists that he is not an explorer.

These grown-ups are willing to have kids around but only in their own terms. They are too afraid to take part in any prank and will only settle to listening to the kids babble or watching them play. If they do join in, they would insist on their own way of doing things in such a way that gives them the upperhand.

prince-birdsPlanet Earth: THE PILOT
This man, as a kid, concerned himself with drawing and boa constrictors. But since the adults dismissed his attempts to illustrate, he concerned himself with “matters of consequence” that the adults refer to. He gave up drawing completely and ended up becoming a pilot. It was when his plane crashed at the Sahara Desert and he met the little prince that he realized how he became like the grown-ups: busy with the sensible things. After learning the experiences of the Prince, the Pilot also learned that “what is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

These are the kind of grown-ups that kids love to hang out with. They are not just willing to play with the kids but also willing to think in the same way they do. These grown-ups range from the older adults to the young professionals. They have discovered how it is to deal with children, to teach them, amuse them, and at the same time discover and learn things with them.

In our journey to adulthood, I hope we do not end up forgetting to be child-like: always filled with wonder. But most of all, to not dismiss children’s attempts to express themselves and their ideas through whatever form available such as drawing, writing, singing, dancing, and painting. These may not be as appealing to profit as geometry, engineering, or architecture, but they are the manners by which the child develops and shapes his character.

The next time you are around children, watch out or they might just exclaim: “You are just like grown-ups!”

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