Wisdom can come from the most unlikely sources. Lately, it seems to be coming from my7 year old son. The simplicity of the workings of a young mind can make a complex problem seem most trivial. From friendship to daily life choices, it seems we complicate simple matters when solutions really are easy and within reach. Here are a few examples:
On the way to the library, my son talked about a classmate who had saying unkind words to him. Curious, I asked him what he had said in return. I was hoping he had stood up for himself either by taking a stand or by reporting her. He said he did nothing.
“Why?!!” Consternation clouded my voice. What kind kid am I raising? I was thinking I’d have to formulate the right way to tell him it was okay to stand up for yourself when someone wrongs you but the thoughts didn’t quite form because his next words halted me mid-stream.
“Mom, sometimes it’s okay to ignore some people.”
Well, I never… I didn’t know what to say. He was right. He didn’t have to accept every invitation for a confrontation. Meeting his eyes in the rear view mirror, we shared a smile and I nodded.
“So who did you play with at recess today?” It’s hard enough to find out about a 7 year old’s day in school, but the problem is compounded when everyday seems to be exactly like the previous day. So for variety, I had taken to asking specific questions about a portion of the day.
“I played with some new friends today.” He said.
“Oh really? What happened to the other two you play with everyday?” I ventured.
“One of them is not kind.” I wasn’t sure what ‘not kind’ means to a 7 year old but I was curious anyway.
“If he wasn’t kind, did you tell your teacher?” I hoped he had done something about it if it was something bad.
“Yes, but she didn’t do anything about it.” At this point he sighed. I knew he was going to switch topics on me soon. But I pushed on anyway.
“So what did you do?”
“Mom…duhh! I have 21 other friends to choose from. I played with new friends. Now he’s being unkind to someone else.”
It’s humbling to see how simple things can be. We often get tangled in situations and often miss the point entirely. Through the simple view of a young mind, I am humbled to learn how easy life can be through the choice to look outwards and find alternatives. Not everything has to be confronted. Not everything has an obvious solution. Life can actually be quite simple.