Do you remember the 80s TV show Kids Are People Too?
Mostly I remember the name. Other details of the program are fuzzy to me, but this is what I recalled before doing a Google search:
The show played on Saturdays after the cartoons. It was not animated. There were one or more adult hosts, one of which was goofy blond guy with a bad haircut. (I may be confusing the hosts of this program with the hosts of That’s Incredible!) The show consisted of segments featuring the achievements of children.
After a Google search, this is what I learned from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_Are_People_Too:
Kids Are People Too is an American television series that ran on Sunday mornings from 1978 to 1982 on ABC. The series was a variety/news magazine show oriented towards kids with the intention of recognizing them as people… The series included celebrity interviews, cartoons, music, and other information that appealed to kids…
Every week it would have a celebrity guest who the host would interview, occasionally a psychologist would speak about the challenges of growing up, and there would be comedy or musical routines.
I think about this show (or at least its title) often in my role as a camp host.
When filling out the camping permit, there’s a box where I write in the number of people staying on the site. Each site is only meant to hold six people, but I can allow seven or eight people on a site if necessary.
When folks have made reservations, my daily arrival sheet tells me how many people to expect in the party, but that number is often inaccurate. Plans change, as do the number of people who make it to the campground.
And of course, when a group without a reservation arrives, I have no idea how many people are in it. (I’m not psychic!)
Every time I fill out a camping permit, I ask, How many people on the site?
I’m surprised when the person with whom I’m speaking says, X adults and X children.
Sometimes I bust right out with kids are people too! but I usually sigh and just think it to myself.
I know what’s going on. I know people without reservations are hoping their children will qualify for some type of discount. Unfortunately for these hopeful types, no. The camping fee is $21, whether there’s one person or six (or eight) on the site. The camping fee is $21, whether there’s one child on site or seven. (Marauding bands of unsupervised children have thus far stayed out of my campground.)
I also know there’s something bigger going on than just the desire to save money. If it were only about discounts, the people with reservations (prepaid and long past any discount window) would never differentiate between adults and children.
What’s going on is our society’s view of children as other. Adults are people and children are something else, not quite people.
I call bullshit.
I don’t have kids, and I’m not someone who would say I love kids any more than I would say I love old people. Some kids I like; some kids are asshats. Some old people I like, and some old people are asshats. I could say the same of teenagers, young adults, and the middle aged. I like people individually, not as a group, so I’m not defending children because I just love kids. I’m defending kids because they deserve to be defended.
Kids are people too. They’re not in some other category.
If you don’t quiet understand what I mean, think about how weird it would sound if I said, How many people on the site? and the answer was Two adults and two senior citizens. (In my campground, senior citizens with the proper card do get a discount, so it’s actually worthwhile for a group to declare its elderly.)
If the question asked is How many adults and how many children? by all means give two numbers. But if the question is How many people? the answer requires only one number since kids are people too.