Saturday, January 08, 2011

If Six-Year-Olds Were in Charge, There Would Be No War (Or at Least We Would All Have More Stickers)

Married life, it's not always so easy. Sometimes Epu and I scream at each other. And the trouble with having such an articulate 6-year-old is the way she tells you exactly how much that bothers her.
At the end of the first half of first grade, Nutmeg's teacher sent home the journal she'd written in class. Epu and I paged through it and read little anecdotes about her little sister Pebbles and such. We half feared that we'd come across a page talking about how terrible she feels when Mom and dad fight.
Instead, we read about that night this fall when we had a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows, and about trick-or-treating on Halloween, and other events that were either "so fun!" or that she "couldn't wait for!"
Reading Nutmeg's journal, I learned two things:
1) 6-year-olds are not at all stingy with the exclamation points
2) Life in our house is actually a lot of fun.
That doesn't mean that things couldn't be better, though. Recently after reading our nightly chapter of "Little Town on the Prairie" we talked about behaving kindly to people, and how I wanted the girls to treat people, and how I wanted to improve my own behavior.
Nutmeg looked at me, smiled, and said, "I'll make you a sticker chart. Every day that you don't argue with Dad, you'll get a sticker, and when the chart is full, you can have dinner at the restaurant of your choice."
While I was smiling over that, she assured me, "I'm really good at making sticker charts."
I love the optimism of the 6-year-old. Maybe she just needs a few years of hard knocks (aka, middle school) to learn that life is more complicated than that. Or maybe if more of us had her energetic optimism, a really good sticker chart really could change the world.