Life Lessons from a Four-Year-Old


Topher used to think he knew everything.  "Me and God and Jesus?  We know everything!" he would say.

Nathan and I would shake our heads and laugh, thinking that all too soon he would realize just how big the world really is and just how little he really knows.

This summer he started to learn how to read.  At, Bat, Cat, Hat, Sat, Pat, Am, Sam, Bam, and Ham are his current achievements - but all of a sudden it was as if the floodgates had been opened, and the questions are never ending.

"But I thought you already know everything!" I tease him.

"Well, not everything, Mommy!" he says seriously.  "Just almost everything."

When I get exasperated with the constant barrage of questions, he looks up at me with his big blue eyes and says - usually with that adorably quivering lip - "But Mommy, I just want to know as much as you do!"

So I apologize, and I answer his 479th question of the day.

I'm pretty confident that I know more than my four-year-old, but some days I can't get over all of the things that he has taught me.

* * *

There is beauty in everything if you just look for it.  Topher could probably spend hours lying on his stomach on the front step watching the ants scurry back and forth. “They’re beautiful, Mommy!” he says. It’s not how I would typically describe an ant, but Topher is completely convinced.

Take time to smell the flowers.  Literally.  Every single time we go to the grocery store, Topher asks if he can sniff the flowers.  It doesn't matter how much of a hurry we're in or where we're going after the grocery store - he wants to sniff every single plant and boquet at least once before leaving the store.

Dance like no one is watching.  Topher and I regularly have dance parties in the safety of our own home. He also loves to dance at church – me? Not so much. Yesterday Topher was rocking out while Nathan and the rest of the band were practicing. I was sitting in my chair, just watching, when he decided that I needed to join in too. He danced over to me, grabbed my hands, and said “Dance with me, Mommy! Please, come dance with me!” I tried to tell him “No, Mommy’s tired!” – but of course he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I felt like a total goob, but who cares?  I'll do just about anything to get one of Topher's belly laughs!

Running gives you energy.   Topher has an endless supply of energy and whenever I ask him how he has so much when I'm completely exhausted, his answer is the same:  "Running gives you energy!"  Oddly enough, I've found that it's true!  When I'm starting to fall asleep at my desk, if I get up and take the dog (or the Topher!) for a run, it's amazing how much better - and how much more awake! - I feel.

Some things in life are scary, but friends make them doable anyway.   Topher was afraid to stay at day camp without me and nothing I said could convince him to stay, so I let him come home with me.  We were halfway there when I heard his little voice from the backseat:  "Tristan will probably miss me, won't he, Mommy?"  "Probably," I answered.  Silence.  Then "I don't want my friend to be sad, Mommy.   Let's go back!"

More than anything else, though, Topher has taught me about the heart of God, and how God loves me even more than I love Topher.

No matter how many questions I ask.