Monday, May 9, 2011
Children and their Wisdom
When we became parents, we quickly learned that our children were ready and willing to instruct and inform us. Of course, one wants one's children to grow up to be confident adults; it's just disconcerting to experience that level of confidence in the very young. For instance, when our daughter was about five years old, she had borrowed my garden trowel to dig in the sandbox, and when she came in from play, I reminded her that the trowel needed to be returned to my garden trug. To which she replied, "I brang it in already." When I remarked that there was no such word as 'brang', she drew herself up to her ultimate skinny five year old height, and exclaimed in a manner entirely befitting a mature Elizabethan actress, "If there's no such word as 'brang', then why did I say it?" I've no idea how I replied to that, but I rather think I was laughing too hard to muster a suitable reply. At that time, we lived more or less in the country, and in the countryside there are always bugs. Our daughter and her younger brother became quite familiar with all sorts of flying bugs and were quite convinced they could identify them all. The brother in particular was very anxious about wasps and bees, and to him anything with wings was one or the other of those. One day a poor moth was flying about, and the brother excitedly warned, "Look out, there's a wasp!" To which the older and wiser sister replied, patronizingly, "That's not a wasp, that's a moss." These stories moved into family lore and we have a lot of fun reminding our grownup children of them, partly as a leveling effort when they say or imply an attitude of "Yeah, yeah, right, right," and partly because those stories evoke memories of how much we enjoyed those long-ago children.