Small Talk

Learning to go far

If you ever need to pare life down to the basics, come hang out with some early kindergartners. 

I can only imagine the conversations that go on during the first few weeks of school.

“Geez, Jimmy. Did your pre-school have this many rules?”

“Whoa no. I don’t think so. Sure we had to line up and not run on the playground, but dang. My new teacher has a list so long she had to put it up on the wall. Yesterday I remembered 3 and 7 but forgot 1 and 9 and I am still paying for it.”

“Shoot. I had just figured out how to get my mom to buy me a treat in the grocery store and how I could pinch my sister and get away with it. Suddenly none of my skills are working.”

“Yeah. Then we went into the library that used to be so much fun when I could pull books off the shelf and jump off the steps when mom wasn’t watching. Boy, have things changed there. I finally find a book that looks good and the lady wants to know my last name. It was bad enough that the teacher expected me to write it yesterday but now I have to cough it up on cue?”

I feel a bit guilty demanding such unfamiliar information, understanding that you have little call for a last name for the first five years of your life. Unfortunately, our computer lists them that way. Things could be worse, but they would be unimpressed that just three years ago, the kids were expected to remember their own 4-digit library number. Uphill through the snow, yeah, yeah.

It all makes rather you glad to be a grown-up. I forget things on an hourly basis, but the expectations are considerably lower. And it occurs to me that it may well be the toughest time in a young control freak’s life. Can you think back to any time when you wanted to do more, but were allowed to do less? So I try to go easy on them and I even find a few who can see the humor in it all.

When I asked one cutie-patootie, “What do you need to tell me?” he glanced down at his book and said, “A Bug’s Life!” When I teasingly responded, “Your last name’s not “A Bug’s Life!” he just cracked up and said, “It might be!”

Now that child will go far.