Saturday, March 15, 2014

What Eight-Year-Olds Know

"We are so alike, Mrs. Piazza," the boy exclaimed, and I smiled at the thought of it. Nearly forty years younger than I am, raised in a rural, not urban, setting, an inveterate talker at the most inopportune times versus a little girl who scarce opened her mouth, so reserved was she, well. Hard to fathom, really, the similarities between me and this boy with big black hair, lanky body, and a tendency to share all the secrets without realizing that there are in fact secrets: this boy who dreams in the color of football.

But then he added, "Because we're both left-handed, used to live in Chicago, and prefer Choice #1 on the lunch menu!," and I thought, Well of course we're similar. How did I not see it before?

His child's criteria for similarity are so much more flexible and forgiving than my own. Let it be a lesson. According to an eight-year-old's standards, any two people in the world are similar, even if only because they both prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla.

What we could accomplish as a community, a nation, and yes, a world, if we recognized every other person on the planet as being more similar to us than different. How we might effect the most significant change if we used an eight-year-old's eyes to see other people.

A thought on a Saturday in mid-March of 2014, a time when we have all the tools to improve the lot of every human being but seem to lack any sense of imperative: Find another person. Revel in your similarities, using my little friend's rubric. Help that person because he or she could be you, after all. Enjoy how it feels to suss out commonalities, not differences. Go from there.

9 comments:

Nicole said...

Love this, as always. So much beautiful truth in this.

Veronica said...

This is true, and when I approach life with this in mind, it is so much better.

Patois42 said...

8-year-old boys sure are smart!

alejna said...

Wonderful! I love that you recognized this bit of wisdom.

Christine said...

Wisdom and love all rolled into one lovely little gentleman.

De said...

What is Choice #1?

I like the idea of a sense of imperative. Periodically, I awaken and wonder why we're not all young Turks.

Sarah said...

De: It is typically the most adventurous lunch choice (for the kids). Sometimes Mexican, like an enchilada. Or a baked potato. General Tso chicken and rice. Something different from chicken nuggets and pizza.:)

De said...

An adventurous palate is a fun trait! International Day at school is almost alway about food, isn't it? Such an easy way to bring people together. (She says, full of corned beef and Irish whiskey. Slainte.)

Neil said...

I wonder if you teaching has been one of the best things to ever happen to your writing. The youthful spirit of your students have energized you in so many ways.