It’s my pleasure to work at a Mothers’ Day Out program at my church two days a week. Within the walls of our little preschool, I get to spend time with what I think is God’s greatest blessings—kids aged 1-5. There’s just nothing like a heartfelt conversation with a 3-year old. The way they look at the world and latch on to those observations in the most literal way is just fascinating to me. No pretense. No fake humility. No concerns about social media or weight gain or global warming or the impeachment trials. Just “When is lunch?” and “Do you like my new light-up sneakers?” and “Can you help me with this zipper because I really have to go to the bathroom?”
Recently, as I walked down the hallway, I heard two back-to-back remarks from teachers: One teacher asked, “Who’s mooing? Boys and girls, who is mooing?” as she tried to find the sneaky bovine impersonator. Passing the bathroom, I heard a different teacher say, “And that’s why we don’t EVER lick the bathroom floor.” This is how you know you’re in a preschool.
Even though he’s older than a preschooler, my second grade son can still blow me away with his childlike yet profound comments and pronouncements. The other day he told me, “When we get to heaven our fingernails will always be the right size.” Just out of the blue, he had this epiphany about the afterlife. A few weeks ago, when I was dropping him off at school on a gray, rainy morning, he said, “When it’s raining like this and I’m at school, it feels like the people in my class are the only people left in the world.” One day inside his imagination would be more interesting than any movie ever made!
Being the youngest of four with three much older siblings, he tries to pretend he’s bigger and older and more confident than his reality. He wants to chest thump all of us and slap our shoulders as if we are wearing football pads, pumping us up for a non-existent game. For a while he liked that chant often shouted at soccer games and used in a few Nike commercials: I believe that we will win! Always an original and still a little behind when it comes to language, he would say, “I will leave if we don’t win!” It still works but sounds more petty than peppy. Once, during one of these locker room pep talks (which actually mostly takes place in the kitchen), he started yelling, “ I AM STOPPABLE! I AM STOPPABLE!” My older son asked him, “Don’t you mean UNstoppable?” “Nah,” little brother answered, “I’m not that good.”
As we were watching the National Anthem sung before a football game on TV the other day, he said, “I would be too scared to sing in front of a thousand (kids and their powers of estimation!) people like that. She’s brave, brave like George Washington!”
With all of the wisdom I’ve received from the kids I get to be around, I feel like I should share a bit of it here: Be yourself, encourage others, a good imagination is a lifelong friend, light-up shoes are magical and be brave like George Washington. You’re welcome.