"Childish Things" as written by and James Mc Murtry....
Aunt Clara kept her bible right next to the phone
In case she needed a quote while she talked to someone
In my memory she smiles while the blessings said
And visions of freeze tag dance in my head
She says I'll grow up big if I eat all my roast
That I'll still believe in heaven but I won't believe in ghosts anymore

I'll put away childish things, I'll put away childish things

Every other weekend, age of thirteen
With my fishing pole and my feelings string
Riding back home on the Trailways bus
I looked out the window till I saw too much
And I called my parents by their own first names
I played in the alley but I didn't play the game anymore

I put away childish things, I put away childish things

The wolves howl all night long
They won't stop and they won't go home
Beneath my window they run
Probably it'll be alright
If I keep it all locked up tight
And wait till daylight comes

Now my boy goes like a house on fire
He'll never burn out and he'll never retire
And I remember when I used to think like that
When I was young and the world was flat
But I'm forty some years old now and man I don't care
All I won't now is just a comfortable chair
And to sell all my stock and live on the coast
I don't believe in heaven but I still believe in ghosts

I've put away childish things, I've put away childish things
I've put away childish things, I've put away childish things

The wolves howl all night long
They won't stop and they won't go home
Beneath my window they run
Probably it'll be alright
If I keep it all locked up tight
And wait till daylight comes
If I wait till daylight comes

Lyrics submitted by findbosco, edited by bjohns7778, Johny108, RLW

"Childish Things" as written by James Mc Murtry

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Childish Things song meanings
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  • +3
    My OpinionIsn't the second line of the second verse supposed to be "with my fishin' pole and my Field & Stream" referring to the outdoor magazine?
    bjohns7778on August 25, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about giving up your past and accepting that you are older and one day will die....i like the part about the wolves, to me it means that evenn though he gave these things the "wolves" are still inside him and still run free......"they wont stop and they wont go home"
    shgdhshfdson March 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is really sad when you think about it. It's about a man who has reached middle age and has lost his ideals. You have to follow the whole sequence "I'll put away childish things/I've put away childish things." "Heaven" represents these ideals--the good things in life. But he still believes in ghosts. "Ghosts" can mean whatever traumatizes him, whatever skeletons are in his closet.
    Susan_The_BassPlayeon November 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks for the lyrics, and it's good to see some comments too. This one's been going through my head on and off for the last few weeks. At first, I was understanding it about like shgdhshfds--just a song about growing older and finding your skin thicken a bit around the scars of life. But the more I replayed the lyrics in my head while sanding my old hardwood floor, the more I saw it like Susan does--this is a sad song. It's about dying while you're still alive. You can't ask for a more literal representation of selling out than "to sell all my stock and live on the coast." The phrase "childish things" comes from I Corinthians 13, the famous "Love is patient, love is kind" chapter. That reference serves to highlight the irony of suggesting that putting away childish things means only wanting a comfortable chair.

    What about the second verse? Seeing too much from the bus window, calling parents by first names, and not playing the game anymore. I follow the arc, but I don't have any specific insights into that verse. Calling his parents by their given names... as Aunt Clara did? Does he spend every other weekend with his aunt in the country?

    Great song. Leaves me wondering which is the true childish thing: heaven or ghosts.
    nodwardon April 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn regards to the second verse, "looked out the window till I saw too much", I take this as him just observing things in general for long enough and he finally starts viewing life in a different way. And not necessarily in a better way than the innocent, curious way that he did as a child. He started figuring everything out for himself and realized things weren't as joyous as they once seemed.
    As for calling parents by their own first names, maybe its just me but I have noticed a few people that I have known a while eventually wind up calling their parents by their first names...just something that happens with age.
    And in the alley, when you were a kid, did you ever have a game or certain thing you did for fun that you never thought would grow old or it never even occured to you that it would grow old? I guess the game didn't really get old; he did.
    db11005on November 23, 2008   Link

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