“Bridget you’re a baby! You’re a baby! You’re a baby!” My soon-to-be four-year-old niece Adelyn squealed over and over with delight. She looked at a black-and-white photograph of me and my two older siblings standing in front of the threshold of our house in our Sunday best. I was probably under the age of two in the photo.
She had just learned that “Uncle Marc” is to me what her older brother Rowan, is to her. It hadn’t occurred to her before now. She was taking in the fact that both Uncle Marc and Aunt Bridget were, at one time, little – just like she is. The proof was in the picture!
As I told this story to my sister – Adelyn’s grandmother - she smiled and then told another.
She had asked Adelyn how many kids live in the different houses in her neighborhood, and finally, how many live in Adelyn’s house.
“Two!” Adelyn replied.
“But no kids live at your house, Nana. You don’t have kids,” said Adelyn.
“I don’t?” replied my sister, dubiously.
“Yes, I do! I have two. That’s my kid, right there,” my sister said pointing to her daughter who is Adelyn’s mother.
When you are soon-to-be-four, you think the world revolves around you and that everyone is exactly as they seem in your mind.
It is, after all, how our brain works. We are biased. And as our world expands beyond that of a three-year-old, it is up to us to change our minds about what we know.
But do we?
When was the last time you were gobsmacked by a new piece of information? And how did it change you?
Did it give you more empathy? More trust? Less trust?
Did it provide a new understanding? Wonderment? A different perspective?
More importantly were you as open and accepting of it as a soon-to-be-four-year-old?