From May 1998
Last weekend, I had the distinct privilege of serving breakfast to five six-year-olds. They had just "camped" in the basement because it had rained for days and days prior to this much anticipated campout birthday party. They had left Jimmy, Christian's godfather and their great protector from basement monsters and other such things, asleep in his sleeping bag and ventured upstairs for breakfast. Between bites of chocolate chip pancakes, the children discussed really weighty matters.
Alex, who had just turned six a few weeks prior, commented to Christian, the current birthday boy, that "Six is the best age to be."
Matt, who has been six nearly a year, disagreed. "Six is fine," he said, "but seven is better. When you're seven you can have first communion." Matt has just been to his cousin's first communion and was duly impressed.
"Yeah," agreed Kevin, who is nearly seven, "but first you have to have first confession."
They pondered that prospect for a while and Christian's cousin, Catie Lea, asked, "Why do you have to be seven to have confession?"
"Probably because the priests all decided that by the time you're seven you've done enough bad things to make a list," said Christian solemnly.
"Hopefully," ventured Kevin, looking concerned, "we can read the list by the time we're seven."
By this time, I was in the kitchen wishing I had this conversation on videotape. They were all so earnest one would have thought they were middle-aged men discussion the prospects of world peace. Except the children were not colored by years of living in an adult world. Everything in their world was decidedly simple.
Later that day, Christian was on the front porch with his buddy Victor, who had just flown in from England for a visit. It never ceases to amaze me how children can just pick up a friendship right where they left off, regardless of time or distance. These two had several philosophical discussions during the week Victor stayed with us, but the one that afternoon was particularly amusing.
"Cool, look at all these ants," exclaimed my gentle son. "Let's stomp on them."
"Christian, God made the ants and God made you. Now He wouldn't have us smashing them would He?" chided Victor in his very endearing British accent.
"God made cows, too, Victor, and you went to McDonald's in the airport and ate a hamburger for dinner, didn't you?"
I love this age! The last remnants of babyhood have disappeared from their once round faces and they are taking an increasingly sophisticated view of the world. But they are so trusting and so innocent. Life is coming into clearer focus; perhaps it's as sharp as it will ever be. Soon, enough, it will be confusing again. Confession will be real and necessary and debates will be over issues much bigger than ants. All in good time. For now, I agree with Alex.
Six is the best age to be.
The other day, I happened upon an overstuffed envelope filled with my old columns. Most of them pre-date my time on the internet. I enjoyed some quiet time, re-acquainting myself with the young wife and mother who wrote those columns. And since I'm in need of a bit of a blogging break, I'm going to share her with you in the next few weeks. I hope you are blessed.