growing wisdom

UnknownI love the improbably wise words that people post on Facebook from their young kids. Wisdom from the mouths of babes about  justice, kindness, and how the world works. My kids — 10 and 12 years old — are largely beyond the stage of blurting out Zen koans. But something just as remarkable happens at this stage; they speak words of wisdom that have come from actual experience.

The other night I went out on a limb and did a load of Chris’ laundry. He is a bit of a control freak about his laundry and we have an agreement that he does his own. But his schedule was really full this week and his laundry clearly needed to be done .  I thought, “Well, now that we’re married, maybe he won’t mind.” (I didn’t really think the ring and the vows and all the sweetness extended to the laundry room, but it was my cover.) So I did his laundry – hung every shirt just as it came out of the dryer, just like he does. When he got home and I told him what I’d done, he looked crestfallen and peeved – “Why did you do that?”

Bella was sitting there watching TV; I didn’t think she’d even been listening, but the kid doesn’t miss much. “That’s not the appropriate answer,” she turned to Chris, peering at him over her glasses. “The appropriate answer is, ‘Oh, thank you so much! That was really kind of you!'”

Immediately, Chris broke into a wide grin of acknowledgment at her well-placed jibe (the two of them have a rapport built on the comic and Bella can get away saying things to Chris that I can’t). He looked at me and repeated her advised words.

In the moment, it’s always nice to know that your daughter has your back. But in the bigger picture, it’s just amazing to know that your daughter has been listening. While her wisdom may no longer sound other-worldly like the mysticism of a 6-year old, she’s become something even better:  a grounded, smart, slightly sassy, big-hearted woman.

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