This I Believe

Michael - Columbia, Tennessee
Entered on January 11, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children
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I believe that the greatest thing to be in the world is a three-year-old (3YO) boy. Younger than this we lack the skills to fully engage the world, and as we move toward school age the burden of appropriate behavior is thrust upon us. The choice of gender is crucial to my belief as well; my Southern upbringing compels me to say that little girls are laden by expectations that they act like “little ladies”. Boys are not weighed down by such concerns.

As a 3YO boy you have the best of all worlds. You have the ability to speak and ask questions, the dexterity to grab anything within reach, and the leniency provided by the world to young children. Recently while eating in a local restaurant a 3YO boy began ringing the dinner bell. Again and again he rang the loud and irritating bell. No one complained; other diners said, “he’s just being a little boy”. On another occasion while eating out a small boy came to our table and informed us regarding the quality of the ice cream he had just consumed. My wife engaged him in conversation until his mother retrieved him. Can you imagine receiving an unsolicited dessert recommendation from an adult? Would you trust it? Yet because of the absolute sincerity of the testimonial I was ready to order ice cream immediately.

But it is mobility that truly defines the 3YO boy. Climbing is a critical skill to be utilized. Any object that can be climbed cries out to be conquered. Once the summit is reached jumping off is essential (unless it looks too scary and then we wait for help with the descent). Any long, unimpeded space is an invitation to run at full speed, possible hazards be damned. When was the last time you recall that type of freedom in your life?

Maybe we would all be better off if we lived like 3YO boys. Run for joy when you get the chance; ask silly questions; give spontaneous advice; grab objects and inspect them more closely while reserving the right to discard them if they are uninteresting. The world might be a tad more chaotic but I am certain we would have a more joyous existence.

For those able to read this essay that magical time of life has passed. But we can continue to experience the vicarious joy of watching those little guys enjoy living life to the fullest. Their ability to spread joy is, I believe, the contribution that makes 3YO boys one of the world’s greatest creatures. And the best thing in the world to be.