Here is what kids know that adults have forgotten

One afternoon, my son and I were in the backyard.  I think he was around four years old.  Our neighbor, who lives on the street before ours, has grandchildren. Their home sits at a 45 degree angle to our home, and to our backyard. One of the grandchildren was on the driveway playing basketball.  I could hear this child but not see him, since a privacy fence is between us and them.

In any case, my son was at the back fence trying to get the attention of this kid.  He was saying “Hey, kid. Hey, KID!”  I could hear the pre-teen kid screaming, “Shut Up!” and I attempted to call my kid back to the house several times, but I eventually gave up.  My son abandoned his post after a while and came to our back deck, where I was sitting.

I casually mentioned what I had considered to be “an incident” with the neighbor.   I said, “I heard you trying to talk to that kid. What was he saying?”

My son answered, “Well, he told me to ‘shut up’ but I didn’t want to.”  He was very matter-of-fact about this information, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.

“He told me to shut up but I didn’t want to.”

Inside, I was swelling with pride.  Afterall, if my child could shrug off the people in life who didn’t care what he had to say, then I wanted a swig of whatever he was drinking. It was probably milk, or flavored water, but one of the more simple drinks of life, nonetheless.

We forget, as older children, and then adults, to discount or ignore what other people are saying we should do, or are thinking about us. If Tracy said that my yard was messy, then she must be right. Right?  If  Heather commented on how I was expressing too many opinions at work, then surely I need to consider her point. No?

I learned an old but real lesson from my son that day. How wonderful to be able to say that so-and-so told me what to do, but I didn’t want to. I wish that I actually cared less.  I wonder if this is something that I can re-learn. I hope that it is.

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