He was munching on a piece of guava while I looked on impatiently, waiting for him to finish his snack so that I could take him to the park. He asked, “Why do we need time?” Patience is not my best virtue and I snapped, “We don’t need any time. We need to get going.” “No, Mama, why do we need time? The time on all the clocks?” That’s when it hit me – my about-to-turn-five bundle of cuteness wanted me to help him understand the concept of time.
Bill Cosby was right all along. Kids do say the darndest things. They also ask the darndest questions. I guess I signed up for this when I decided to become a mother.
I’ve worked hard on inculcating in my son the habit of asking questions and he had just made me proud. Evidently, my boy has a mind that is smarter than I give it credit for. Nonetheless, my challenge was to explain a universal, albeit complex, concept to a little person. To make sense and to stay on the same page, my reply had to be simple and short. I gave it a thought. Then I proceeded to talk.
“You know the world is a big place, right? So, to maintain our schedules and to not disturb other’s schedules, we all need to know what time it is. What do you think will happen if you and your bus driver didn’t know what time it was? He might reach the bus stand early, wait for some time and leave, thinking you had forgotten to go to school. On the other hand, when you would reach the bus stand on time, you would think the bus driver had forgotten the bus route. Both of you will fail at what you set out to do. But if everyone knew the time for the bus, we would all reach school on time every day.” I wasn't sure if my reply would hold water. I waited for his reaction.
He considered the answer over the last few bites of his snack and nodded. “I get it now! We all should know the time so that we can do what we want to. You, me, Papa, driver uncle, all of us!”
I relaxed my tense back muscles and smiled.
As an afterthought, he added, “I think I get it now because I’m old and wise.”
Kids do say the darndest things, don’t they?