May 20 • 10:56 AM

Out of the mouths of babes comes great wisdom

February 13, 2008
Folks my age remember Art Linkletter's Kids Say The Darndest Things. My job of working in four kindergarten classrooms often reminds me of that show. Indeed, I've often thought that if I could remember all the little bits of wisdom the kids impart to me, and could actually remember them long enough to write them down, I'd have ample material for a show—or probably in my case, a book—of my own.

Occasionally, there's a quote that stands out.

One little fella, whose first language is definitely cars and engines, came up to me the other day and said, "I wanna make a sentence!" I seized the moment.

Teachers (and aids) develop a sixth sense when it comes to kindergarteners' spelling. Usually we encourage them to use the sight words they are learning in conjunction with some phonetic spelling. As they become more proficient, they also develop confidence. The teacher in this classroom makes a big deal of the sentences they write, and lets them come up and read them during group time on the carpet. I knew he really wanted an opportunity to do that. So I said, "O.K. Remember that one you made last time about cars? Let's think of another one. Think of that picture in the newspaper of you and your brothers under the hood of that special car. What could we say about that? Let's look at the list of sight words on the board and see what we could write."

I watched as the little wheels started turning. Then, eyes sparkling with life, he looked at me eyeball to eyeball and said, thinking as he talked, "There's a little guy inside...''

I was pretty sure I knew what he was going to say, though I wondered that he knew about that. We had just talked about his dad being a mechanic—liking cars, etc., and I was sure he was going to say what I had known all along—that inside every man is a little boy, or something on that order. I had almost quit listening, when I realized that wasn't what he was saying at all.

What he was saying was, "There's a little guy inside your throat that tells you what to do and what not to do."

Conscience, I thought. That teeny little kid just described his conscience. And I couldn't have said it better. Differently, but not better, or in terms a kid could get.

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 20 - 19
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