The little girl cried for the longest time but as her sobs began to subside the clouds lifted. The sun peeked through the storm clouds and a little boy on a yellow bicycle pulled up to the curb. He walked up to the little girl and asked her what was wrong. She replied that her parents had told her she could never smile again, because adults are serious individuals with serious matters to tend to and they wanted so bad for her to become an adult. A wry smile crept over the boy's face and he asked her to walk to the edge of the street with her.
"Adults understand nothing," he began to say. "The serious matters they speak of are matters of money and circumstance, things which are inconsequential to a smile. A smile is the simplest form of currency. It cannot be bought or sold, but it can be exchanged for the two most valuable things in the world: love and happiness." He then motioned for the little girl to turn around.
As the little girl turned around, she saw the dour garden which had framed her house had been transformed into a beautiful oasis of color. "While you were crying, the sun which surrounded your world grew dim and gave way to the rain. But, as with everything worth having, the most beautiful things in life will always require a little bit of joy and a little bit of suffering. It is only then that you can truly appreciate the gifts which we are given and the responsibilities which are required of us."
Then the little girl understood. A true adult knows how to be serious, for being serious requires the sacrifice of childhood. But that sacrifice is done in the hopes that the next day brings childlike joy for others, and a smile. It is in this balance we find what makes us happy. Growing up is never a sentence to be serious, but a chance to remember the joy of a child and bring it further into the world.