“Use every crayon color that you got
A fishing pole sinks faster than a tackle box
Nothing turns the day around like licking a mixing bowl
I learned that from a three year old.”
–from Three Year Old by Eric Church
This song reminds me of the simple perspectives we had in childhood. I can’t count the number of times licking the frosting from my grandma’s mixing bowl made it the best day ever. And, using every crayon fosters flexibility and imagination. The song’s chorus later reminds listeners of the basic courtesy of saying sorry when we’re wrong.
At some point in our development these simple truths become complicated. This is because we transition from black/white to black/gray/white. There are more variables and factors that come into play in adulthood like being exhausted from work today and worrying about work tomorrow, being stubborn, or protecting others with little white lies. Sometimes we find ourselves teaching these simple wisdoms to our children while our own behaviors contradict these lessons. You may be proud of your children for apologizing to a friend, but scrutinize yourself for not apologizing to your brother after a bitter argument. The next time you are hard on yourself for not living up to these lessons, keep in mind that these 3-year-old truths probably remain part of your morals and values, but have changed a bit to help you function in a complex adult world.