Children can shift from one unconnected idea to the next. They ask questions and make statements that aren’t constrained by what they have previously learned.
There are no guardrails, no self imposed requirements that the conversation have a beginning and end or even a point. It’s just flow.
As a result they can pack bursts of energy into small spaces of time. In a recent 20-minute interval my nine-year-old demonstrated the art.
My son tells me he wants to work as a surgeon or an engineer or the guy running the cash register at a gas station.
He says he’s thinking about jobs because he wants to make enough money to live in a house with a Jacuzzi and a pet monkey.
He starts asking questions:
“Would you rather get stung by a hornet or a wasp?”
“Do you know it’s impossible to spell Hannah backwards?”
“Do you know a Chupacabra is an animal that sucks the blood of goats.”
“Did you know 5 minutes is 300 seconds?”
I tell him I wasn’t aware of that. “I just figured it out,” he says.
He realizes he’s hungry and asks: “Can I have a hamburger with ketchup, cheese and tomato?”
I tell my son I have a big presentation at work next week. He asks if I’m going to talk to the group about what I did on my recent vacation.
He says his friend Tome’s car smells good because he has two or three air fresheners. “Why don’t you think of getting an air freshener?” he asks.
“Dad, what’s the name of the planet between Saturn and Neptune?” I know where this is headed so I say I don’t know. “It starts with a U.” He starts to giggle. I ask if it’s Venus. He laughs out loud and says no! It’s spelled U-R-A-N-U-S. “Say it, Daddy. Say it!”
“Do you know Australians don’t say fuel, they say ‘petrol?’”
I tell him that I did know that.
“Why isn’t ‘funner’ a word? Things are fun and some things are more fun. So they should be ‘funner.’”
I tell him he has a good point.
“Do the president and the mayor get to print money so everyone can have some? There has to be some place money comes from,” he asks.
Excellent question, I say. But before I can expound he has moved on.
“When you were born were there TVs? Were they black and white?”
I tell him I’m not sure. I have to Google it.
It turns out most TVs were black and white when I was born.
It’s an acknowledgement that I am from a place where no one asks about wasps and hornets or dreams about Jacuzzis and pet monkeys.
It’s a place that is definitely not funner.
**Published by Ted Merz May 10, 2016 **