Truth, as told by

November 5th, 2007



The following post is based on the truth.

Things my daughter has said when I’ve been attentive enough to hear:

At the amusement park:
Sometimes the noisiest places are the most peaceful.
Looking at the sky:
The moon follows us wherever we go.
After a nightmare:
My brain is mixed up.
Asked to subtract 2 from 32:
I’ll know that in high school.
On setting the alarm:
My eyes have timers in them so I know when to wake up.
On her religious persuasion:
I’m half Jewish, half Buddhist and half Christian.
Hearing that what she wants costs $139.
I’ll ask Santa and it won’t cost anything.

I could take exception to any or all of these statements. I could see these as teachable moments. I could subtly nudge, correct, expand, or explain. I could interject scientific, biological, psychological or theological concepts of my choosing. I might note, for example, that the moon is not following her, per se, but that through Einstein’s Theory of Relativity we know that the interplay between mass and curvature causes the gravitational and centripetal forces that hold the moon in its position relative to Earth. Would that be more true?

Children’s views on the life around them are at once literal, lyrical and magical. They are simultaneously very small and simplistic, and very large and profound. They are always true; we just may not judge them to be right.

When my daughter speaks, I listen for a teachable moment. That is, a moment that teaches me. And I stifle the impulse to limit the possibilities of her universe. Her life will do that for her. She will inevitably acquire knowledge, cultivate reason and encounter her own doubts and dark nights. She will ask me difficult questions and I will respond as best as I can. I save her nothing by shortcutting her journey to what I believe to be right or rational, provable or true. I play along, because these are the days for play.

Right now and for the briefest flicker of time, she stands before a wide open window, inviting me to come see. It is a breathtaking view, and I want it to last far longer than I know it will.

When it ends, I’ll still be standing by her.

15 Comments »

  1. And everyone says “Amen.”

    I love this.

    Comment by Mama Zen — November 5, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

  2. Beautiful. This has moved me to tears.

    Comment by Mika — November 6, 2007 @ 12:21 am

  3. Karen, this is lovely- and very true. Even at 10 months, my little boy is looking through that window- I hope I never play a role in closing it.

    -Katey

    Comment by Noisette — November 6, 2007 @ 2:00 am

  4. Things my son says startle me everyday and show me something new. From, “Maybe he’s not really bad. Maybe no one taught him to be good.” to “Well, I didn’t really give the dog a hair cut as much as I was taking care of him.”

    Comment by marta — November 6, 2007 @ 3:28 am

  5. I find that when my son says something like this I hold my breath, not wanting to “wreck” it or forget it or let it go. your post reminded me to BREATHE, and thereby be more fully present with him.
    thank you!!

    Comment by Ginger — November 6, 2007 @ 3:29 am

  6. And what is “true” is not always the same as what is fact, right, correct, and my favorite – real.
    The moon follows us home. And as it does, the man that lives there asks you questions. Or so the story goes in our home.
    Maybe more is possible then we let it be. Like santa’s presents costing nothing and noisy places being peaceful.
    Thank Georgia for being one of my teachers too.
    I feel this weird connection with her. We share the same birthday, you know. 🙂

    Comment by bella — November 6, 2007 @ 4:00 am

  7. That is how we try to live our life here. They are just perfect as they are, every moment is a learning moment (not a teaching moment), and I learn more from THEM if I just can sit still and listen.

    Exactly.

    Comment by denise — November 6, 2007 @ 4:18 am

  8. These are days for play – hooray!!! I struggle to best articulate this to my classroom parents who are ON THE FAST TRACK, no time to waste for their seven year old. Jeez, it’s madness.

    With renewed enthusiasum (Marley is sleeping right now) I’ll enjoying my little bird’s tender years.

    Comment by kelly — November 6, 2007 @ 6:17 am

  9. A simply beautiful, truthful post. Thank you.

    Comment by TZT — November 6, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  10. The wisdom of children amazes me. Thanks for sharing.

    xo,

    Karen Beth 🙂

    Comment by Karen Beth — November 6, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  11. truth!
    with tears,
    w

    Comment by Wendy — November 6, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  12. To windows that shall always remain open … lovely. Thank you as always.

    Comment by Shawn — November 6, 2007 @ 11:33 pm

  13. This is a lovely reminder to remain open as my daughter grows.

    Comment by kathryn — November 7, 2007 @ 4:15 am

  14. I’m speakless, as always, when reading your posts. Beautiful.

    Thank you.

    Comment by shauna — November 7, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  15. 3.5 years ago, this post was written. These words really resonate with me … “she stands before a wide open window, inviting me to come see.” I love this. I’m trying to accept these invitations too. Thank you.

    Comment by CeCe — May 16, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

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