Monday, February 13, 2017

I want to look at people the way my four year old does

This week my son had an assignment where he had to tell the story of when a visitor came to his house. Last summer two of his cousins came over to play for the day. For the assignment he tried to tell me the story of that day. I wrote it all down as fast as I could.

The point of the story was to focus on detail. He was supposed to tell his story as if someone who knew nothing about his visitors was reading it. He did a very good job telling me about how much fun they had and what they did together. But I had to ask him, "what did your visitors look like?" At first while I was writing his description down I couldn't help but want to ask him for more specific details because this was what he told me:

"Siaara looks like a sister and her is. And she looks like a friend of mine. Asher looks like a friend of mine and he looks very brave."

I didn't ask him to elaborate though and I'm glad that I didn't. It wasn't until later that day as I was driving to my mom's and little Abe was sleeping in his car seat that his description of his cousins really spoke to me. My son has a really impressive imagination. He's very creative. He's incredibly talkative (to people that he knows) and his vocabulary is extremely large. He could easily have said that one of his cousins is very tall, that she has really long yellow-ish hair and that she is skinny. He could have said that she is pretty or that he likes her face (he's said that about several different people).

I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, "she looks like a friend... and he looks very brave." If someone asked you to describe what your sister looks like or your best friend what would you say? I wouldn't say she looks like my friend but there is something about a four year old describing two of his very favorite people looking "like a friend of mine" that just makes me want to be a better person. If someone asked me what my sister looked like I think it'd be admirable to say, "she looks incredibly kind. In fact she looks like someone who enjoys making people happy. She looks like a friend of mine and she's my sister."

I want to look at people the way my four year old does. One of the things that I keep thinking over and over, with as divided as things seem to be culturally these days I honestly believe that if he'd been describing someone of another race his description would have still been what it was. I know that my son doesn't see skin color or racial differences as something that makes people different from each other. I remember last summer when a family of very dark skinned individuals was at the splash pad by the river. They honestly stuck out like a sore thumb and I remember little Abe was sort of staring. I asked him, "why do you keep looking at that little boy honey?" And I remember he turned to me and said, "because he looks really cool!" He never said a word about the boy having really dark skin. I want to look at people the way my four year old does.


  1. This is a great post! I love how he thinks and you are right, this is how we all should see people.

    1. Thanks, I tried at work yesterday to look at people differently. Even strangers, I looked at them and tried to ask myself, "what does she (or he) look like?" And without using negative words I would tell myself "she looks creative," or "he looks like an uncle." It was really fun until one customer was SUPER mean to me. Then I couldn't help but think, "she looks like an angry bitter friendless person." What a weird day to have a bad incident with someone.

  2. Children really see souls, don't they.

  3. I loved reading this. My son is also 4 years old and I love to listen to his stories and views on the world.