Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Perspective of a Six Year Old

I've had the pleasure of spending the day today with two of my favorite six-year-olds:  Carter and Anna.  If you are a follower or mine, you may recall that I kept Carter last summer, and so we three spent a lot of time together. There weren't many (if any) dull moments, that's for sure. 

Sooooo, today was extra special because we were able to play and have fun and have fun and play.  To see them so happy, to watch them play, to see how carefree they are and how they process information and learn and grow...it's pretty neat.  It may be especially interesting to me because other than keeping Carter last summer, I've really never seen her interact with "kids".  I know she's had a year of Kindergarten, and she has "mothered" Kaylee, but the role is different there; she is the "adult" where Kaylee is the "child".  Am I making sense?  I can see your heads all shaking "NO" with a bewildered look on your face.  Anna's always been around adults....and really, that's about it, until last summer when Carter and Kaylee came along.  Her daddy and I, her brother and sister, her aunt, her grandparents...and so she is an "adult" in so many ways.  Sometimes, I think I'm guilty of not remembering that she is only 6, and that she is a child. 

I think I've mentioned how she has recently started sharing her "happy" and "unhappy" emotions with us, haven't I?  Well, her other newer thing she is doing is asking what words mean.  She has been asking 6,000 questions an hour for a while now, and it is interesting the words she picks to ask about.   Today there were two. 

This was the conversation going on in the back seat on the way home, very seriously:
Anna:  ...and, remember, we get to swim (pronounced schwim) when we get home, you brought your suit, right?
Carter:   Yeah, and I have on my sunscreen, so I can swim with you. 
Anna:  Why you gotta have sunscreen to swim, anyways?  I don't.
**Insert here three pieces of information: 
1:  Anna's mother is a loser because she *should* be wearing sunscreen, even if she doesn't burn.
2.  Anna got the nice Italian/Cherokee skin that her mommy has; she is very lucky!
3.  Carter is about as pale as Anna is dark.
**Back to conversation:
Carter:  Because if I don't use it, my skin gets tender.
Anna:  Tender?  What's tender?
Carter: Well, it's...well, ya see...well...it gets red...and it doesn't feel good. 
Anna:  Oh.
**Poor Carter...he worked so hard to explain what it was, and got Anna's one-word response. 

I love a couple of things about that conversation.  I love that Carter used that word.  I can hear his Mama saying it to him.  I love that it's a "grown-up" word, and he used it.  I love that Anna asked what it meant, and I love that Carter took time to be thorough and answered her question in all seriousness.  These two make me happy.  (In case you didn't know.)

The next word was going to be the title of my post, but then, the tender conversation had to be thrown in, too. 

Habit.  You have to agree...it is a word that could be written about in so many ways.  There are books written on just this one word.  The habits of people, animals, our planet, groups, etc, etc, etc, have been studied for centuries.  So how do you explain that word to a six-year-old??

We are driving down the road, and Anna starts in with this chatty annoying cartoon-like voice that she uses and just sort of mumbles whatever or "sings" while using this voice.  Ya'll.  I would rather hear nails on a chalkboard.  For real.  And she's gotten worse and worse and worse about doing it.  So, we're driving down the road, yeah, I know, I already said that...just wanted to make sure you were paying attention, when she started in, and I said whatever I said to tell her to quit with the voice and that it was a habit she needed to get rid of.  Yup...here it came:  Mom, what's 'habit'?  Me:  It's when you do something over and over again.  That's a habit.  Anna:  That's not a habit.  Me:  Yes, it is a habit.  I have to ask you over and over again to stop using that voice, and it is becoming more and more often that I have to ask you, and that is a habit.  There are good habits and bad habits, and this is a bad habit, simply because it gets on your mama's nerves.  Anna:  Oh, OK.    You know, now that I think about it, I don't think I had to ask her to quit with the voice at all the rest of the day.  Wow.  I hope it sticks for tomorrow, too.

After we had that conversation, I had a couple more miles to go before I got home, and I was rolling that word around in my head, thinking about how many directions you can come from and talk about this word, what it can represent, that your habits make up who you are...the list goes on and on...and of course, I thought that it needed to be a blog post. 

It made me think about my habits, specifically. 

If you asked me if I had a habit, the first thing I would tell you is that until I was 29 years old, I bit my fingernails to a nub, and I had all my life.  After Anna was born, at age 29, I just stopped biting them.  I never thought about it; I just noticed it after a while. 

So I'm sure we all have "auto pilot" answers about habits we have, just like that example, but what about other habits?

What good habits do I have?  What habits do I have that I hope that my children pick up on?  Have I taught them those habits?  What good habits would I like to adopt?  Why? 

What bad habits do I have? Why haven't I changed them?  What do I need to do to see that they are changed, so they can be crossed off the "bad" list? I'm sure we all have them.  After all, we *are* human. 

 Here is a twist on the normal thought process of habits:  What is a habit I *don't* have that I wish I had?  How can I work on it, and make it a habit?  I read somewhere once that after you do the same thing for 17 days in a row, it was then a "habit".  I'm sure that is not scientifical,  but it stuck in my head.  Who knows why. 

How do my habits affect those around me? My children, specifically, and next, as an example of a Christian....do I say and do things that reflect and display God's love for us, and the image of what He would want me to be?  Do I say and do things that don't do those things?  Again, what can I do to change those things and make them into positive things?  How can I work on that?

This has already turned into a novella, so I won't go into listing things I've thought about throughout the day that go along with this word, but I wanted to put my thoughts down; get them out there.  Maybe if for no other reason than to come back to this topic and reflect on it at a different time and see if my answers are the same or different.  Have I worked on what I should have? 

How would YOU explain the word, off the top of your head?  Hmmm?  Comment and tell me.

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