Weird and Insightful Things I've Heard Second-Graders Say

This semester, I took a class called Philosophy for Children with Professor Dunn. After reviewing some philosophical topics ourselves, every Wednesday us college kids marched into Ridpath Elementary across the street and attempted to teach seven- and eight-year-olds philosophy. Yeah, that’s a lot to take in. Philosophy for Children was one of my favorite classes, but I sure had my ups and downs. Turns out second-graders really struggle to sit still for more than five seconds, but sometimes they really say some great things. Here are some random, funny and downright philosophical things my students said.

1. “I think I’m just going to go home and sit under the covers and eat all the food in my house.” Same, Alexia, same. I’ve never related to a second-grader more. Alexia said this after a very lively discussion as to whether or not our brains are just sitting in vats being controlled my mad scientists. Is seven too young for an existential crisis?

2. “Bravery is in your heart.” Got me in my feels. One of my second-graders came up with this canvas-worthy quote as we were discussing whether or not you could tell if someone was brave just by looking at them.

3. “You know you’re not dreaming if you go to Walmart in your ‘dream,’ because no one would ever dream about going to Walmart.” Forget pinching yourself, just try to go to Walmart. Philosophical problem solved. Thanks, Travis.4. “But if God made everyone, then who made God??? AHHHH.” My girl, Tabby, was thoroughly stressed out after a classmate of hers said that God was the creator of all things. At such a young age, she was thinking about the beginnings of the world and starting to form her own opinion on how we all got here. Deep.

5. “Make the world a better place.” One of my students wrote this on a poster she said she was going to put around her neighborhood. After reading The Lorax, this student was determined to “speak for the trees” and encourage those around her to recycle and plant more trees. We love a young environmental activist!

6. “Girls and boys can do whatever they want to do.” Yes!! After reading The Story of Ferdinand, my second-graders challenged traditional gender roles, saying that boys can smell flowers and girls can be tough. A tear.