Friday, May 13, 2011

Childlike Wisdom

A few weeks ago, I got to "babysit" this 10-year-old kid named Noah. I wasn't excited about devoting a whole day to keeping an eye on him because I barely knew him at all. But his parents were desperate for help and I was desperate for $$, so I said yes.

Turns out Noah is one of the coolest kids I know. I'm serious. He's a babysitter's dream without being a pansy. We did all kinds of stuff including taking a bike ride, shooting baskets, and walking up the road to visit his neighbor's horses.

He was really open about what he was allowed to do {"My mom lets me ride my bike to that white mailbox."}, but was perfectly willing to accept any new rules I introduced {"But if you don't want me to go that far, you can give me a different mailbox to go to."}.

He showed me how to make this awesome smoothie, and when he fell of his bike and gouged his elbow, he remained totally chill. I think I had almost as much fun with him as he had with me.

{I'm assuming he had fun since he asked me what I was doing the next day, and if I could please be his babysitter from then on.}

But among the basket-shooting, horse-visiting and elbow-gouging, he said something oddly profound.

He was running around the living room, trying to catch a moth for his collection. He was going at the thing with tweezers because he didn't want to damage the wings too much. After a few minutes, I went over to watch/help him for a little while. It got dull after a couple of minutes though, so I turned to leave.

"It just doesn't to be caught, does it?" I said absentmindedly.

Noah looked at me with a mixture of curiosity and amusement, like that was the strangest thing for me to say. "Well, nothing wants to be caught!" he said plainly, with a bewildered chuckle.

There was startling truth in the statement. I looked at him. "You know, I never thought about that," I said. "You're so right."

Isn't that funny? "It just doesn't want to be caught" is such a simple, standard sort of answer. It's the kind of thing kids hear all the time, but I had never thought about it so plainly.

Nothing wants to be caught! There's something instinctive in all creatures that rebels against being trapped, taken, caught.

I was just saying something to have something to say, but Noah's childlike perception revealed a truth I had never considered before.

Aren't kids just wonderful?


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