There's a reason why the saying is, "out of the mouths of babes," and not "out of the mouths of 40 year-olds." The young view the world with a clarity that eludes anyone past puberty. As we grow older, our ability to see most situations as either black or white gets clouded with at least 50 Shades of Grey. Children have no such filters. Good manners and political correctness don't cloud their judgment or still their tongues.
If you want to get your life right, ask a kid. They will set you on the straight and narrow toot suite (The Wonder).
Our four-year-old granddaughter Amelie said, "Sometimes boys marry boys and girls marry girls." The "now you don't have to worry about this anymore and feel free to mind your own business," was implied.
When our granddaughter Madison was five she handed in her test paper blank because, as she told her teacher, "I did this ten times yesterday. You already know I know how to do it." (A Dog's Life)
Even our two-year-old grandson dishes out Obi-Wan worthy wisdom in daily soundbites. If you ask him something - anything - he says NO at least 50% of the time.
I'll let you chew on that one.
Then there's Adelia - the sage. As some of you know, Adelia is our seven-year-old granddaughter who suffers from an ataxic cerebral palsy like disease. She is unable to walk more than a couple of nerve-wracking, dangerously unstable steps without the aid of a walker, but gets around best via wheelchair. Yet, somehow her spirit thrives in inverse proportion to her physical decline (The High Cost of Living, Don't Cry Mom, Sho You Right).
Not long ago, on a rainy day in the middle of the street, she told me the secret to a life well lived. In a handful of words, she re-wrote the book on success.
"Count to three, Mimi," she said.
"I want to race my brother."
Race? It had taken us ten, painful minutes to walk/carry/lurch from her front door to the curb, two-year-old Che Jr. trailing us. A vice grip on my hand the only prop between her face and a concrete disaster.
"Adelia, racing's not a great idea," I said.
"Yeah, come on, count. Let go." She pulled out of my grasp, almost losing her balance.
Like an idiot, I let her boss me (in my weak defense, I let all my grandkids boss me). "Okay...one, two, three..."
Che Jr. took off as fast as his fat toddler legs would go. Adelia took half a shaky step forward and fell, hard. On the asphalt. It was ugly.
After I checked for serious wounds and wiped tears (mostly mine) Adelia struggled upward. I helped her stand. She pushed her hair out of her face and nudged me aside.
"Okay, Mimi. Count."
What the hell? Hadn't we just gone through this?
"Adelia," I said, a little exasperated, a lot scared. "You're gonna fall again."
"I know," she said. "But, I want to run."