Friday, 25 September 2009

Toddler Wisdom

Children are our natural teachers.  If you catch them before their innate wholeness is "civilized" out of them, they behave with astonishing honesty.  My favorite, real-life example of this came on the heels of a typical brother/sister infraction, the type that happens everyday, in every culture. I never knew the exact details of what happened, but suffice to say there was anger, hitting and tears.  And so, as I was putting my four-year-old son to bed that night, I asked him, "Why did you do that to your sister?"
 "Because," he answered, "sometimes I'm mean. That's how God made me." What could I do but agree with him?  (And suggest he find alternatives to hitting next time he got angry.)

His innocent statement stopped me in my tracks and reminded me that we have been created as whole beings with "bad" and"good" traits in perfect balance.  Besides, who's to say that a little well timed meanness might not be absolutely appropriate from time to time?  If we are conditioned to be nice little people pleasers we are left vulnerable to being taken advantage of in all sorts of ways.  It's easy to get confused about this as parents, as we desperately want our kids to be the "right" kind of people.  But there's grand canyon between being "good" and being our natural, God-given selves.

And so, in honor of this beautiful little boy who has taught me so much, (and he's still only six!) I give you Charlie's Poem:

Charlie Marshall, perfect son,
has smiles and scowls for everyone.
Comfortably whole, as I have seen,
when “Mamma,” he said, “sometimes I’m mean.”
“That’s how God made me,” as a matter of fact. 
“Of course it is,” I answered back.

I stifled a laugh and was secretly proud
that my boy had spoken such a truth aloud.
And if one small child can understand
the dual nature of a man,
can I befriend my cast off lots
and coax them from their hiding spots?

Right then and there I made a vow
not to screw him up somehow.
But love him wholly, come howls or hoots,
and pray the world will follow suit.
Who knew my greatest teacher, wise and more,
would be a little boy of four.




  1. here is your first comment, sista.
    Lovely that you started writing. and enjoy the experience! I am sure you have enough to share.


  2. You are awesome. What a great communicator and writer with incredible insight. Keep up the blog. I have never followed one before, so here will be my 1st. XOXO

  3. Marvelous! Simply Marvel-ous!

  4. What a great human being you have at home!