For the past year I have been babysitting two boys who have allowed me into their creative, imaginative world of silly jokes, fun games, and heartfelt words. The older brother is three years old, but his wisdom is far beyond his age as he continues to amaze me with his knowledge of the world around him. I decided to do a mini-interview with him by asking him questions about emotions, dreams, and the people he loves most to see if I could learn anything. (Spoiler alert: I learned a lot!)
- Dream big
Q: What is your biggest dream/wish?
A: To be Batman
Essentially, this response reminded me that I need to set big dreams for myself even if they seem abstract or nearly impossible, and not get bogged down by the naysayers.
- How our emotions affect our actions
Q: What do you do when you are sad? And what do you do when you are happy?
A: I take a deep breath. I play!
- Bravery is a mentality
Q: How can I be brave?
A: You have to have a strong brain.
I was definitely not expecting this to be his answer, but I was pleasantly surprised by his insight. He is right though, most situations that I need to be brave involve me having to convince my mind that I can do it.
- Do what you love at least once a day
Q: What is something you like to do everyday?
A: We (him and his brother) like playing with you Meghan!
My heart melted when he said this. It was a good reminder to make sure I always set aside time everyday to do something that I enjoy, and if I'm being honest I do enjoy our games of tag!
- Asking for help is normal and encouraged
Q: What do you do when you are having trouble with something?
A: I ask my teachers or mommy, who is one of my best favorite friends, for help.
Asking for help seems daunting now that I have gotten older, yet children are encouraged to seek help when they need it: so the way I rationalize it is, if the three year old can ask for help, so can I! Also, he totally reinvented what it means to have a BFF (best favorite friend).
- The meaning of love
Q: What does love mean to you?
A: It means that you give someone a hug. [Mommy and daddy] give me lots of big hugs. It makes them feel very happy and makes me feel very happy. I am very lucky to have my brother and my family.
Another response that made me almost cry but he offers some great advice about how love doesn't have to be a grand gesture like in the movies, it can be something as simple as a hug. (Also, I can confirm he does give the best hugs!)
- The world is full of learning opportunities
Q: What is something new you have learned?
A: I learned that my friend is sillier than me! And that we live on a big Earth that has gravity that puts people down.
Lastly, he reminded me that everyone is constantly learning new things. Learning doesn't always have to be about the complex matters in our world, they can also be little things. The important part is that you keep learning and stay curious.
My big takeaways from our conversation were: it’s important to have big dreams for myself, bravery is a characteristic that comes from within, asking for help is normal, I should appreciate my family/friends more by hugging them often, and a day well spent involves playing. Many of his answers involved topics that adults have also given me advice about, but it was an interesting twist to hear it from a young 3 year old. His answers were full of sweet and simple responses. Perhaps that is the greatest piece of advice I should take from him: keep things simple!