Last week, I got to visit some good friends and their children, twin girls of age 5, and a boy of almost 3. I hadn’t seen any of them in over 2 years, so it was amazing to meet these kids all over again, as they are now wholly different people. I heard about ballet classes and school, saw acrobatic tricks and dress up clothes. One twin told me she was 30 seconds taller than her sister. No, said her Mom, we need to work on that. Seconds are for time; you’re two inches taller than your sister. I watched both twins consider this carefully. I considered it too.

Naomi Shihab Nye wrote a poem called “One Boy Told Me,” entirely composed of lines her son said when he was two and three years old. Once he asked, “If the clock said 6:92 instead of 6:30, would you be scared?”

Spending time with kids is something of a spiritual practice. It reminds us we didn’t always think this way, reminds us of what was learned and what was always known. And growing up, while very necessary, is not always progress. I’ve written before about my nieces, and their determination to grow and explore. I do hope they can keep some of what so many of us lose, remember their old ways of thinking before their new learning comes to be too dominant. We need them to teach it to us all over again. We need to remember how to be 30 seconds taller than we are now.

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