We are all painfully aware that children between the ages of two and seven are sweepingly egocentric. This, of course is through no fault of their own. It is one of many super-fun stages of human development in which your small, mouthy, offspring, has absolutely no ability to view any situation from any point-of-view, other than his/her own. The other nifty little fact for folks of this tender age, is the absolute belief that the sun, moon and stars, rise, set and revolve around just one individual…themselves, of course. The rest of us poor saps were put upon this earth to serve, and it’s clear by the number of temper tantrums, that SOME of us could use more training. However, one must admit, observing total egocentrism busting out of a tiny package can be pretty darn comical.
I remember one such incident following a Preschool Christmas Program. This was a Church Preschool and the program was a musical reenactment of the birth of Baby Jesus. As usual, the children had been practicing for weeks. The production was completed without a hitch and family members went into the children’s classroom for a celebration. During this celebration, parents were given a handmade gift…a round piece of wood with their child’s footprint representing the manger scene (see picture above).
My charge and I sat on the couch later that day, admiring his work. I, of course, wanted to see how much attention he had been paying to the 30 minute Christmas Program he had just performed. The one he had been practicing for the past month. The one the teachers had been reading books about all month, etc., etc.
“You really did a nice job on this, I told the boy. Who is this baby?”
“Oh, that’s just me,” he said, casually.
“I see…and what’s this big thing in the sky?” I asked, as I pointed to the Star of Bethlehem.
“That’s the sun shining down on me so I’ll stay warm.” He said, nodding enthusiastically.
“Well that was lucky for you, huh? So, what’s this round thing over your head?” I’m almost afraid to ask.
He wrinkled his forehead, thinking. “You know how sometimes in books, when people have something to say, words will come out of their mouths inside a circle? He asked. This circle is here in case I have something to say. That way, people will see the circle and will know they need to listen.”
I’m playing along now. “Well, we all know we need to listen when you have something to say. But weren’t there three wise men who brought the baby gifts? Who were they and what did they bring?”
“That’s Daddy, Grandaddy and Papa. They gave me dinosaurs cause they are my favorite.”
“Well, thank you for teaching me about the true meaning of Christmas,” I said, giving him a little hug.
“I know a lot more than you, cause I go to school every day,” he answered, hopping down and running to play with his dinosaurs.
This is the only time in life that being a total narcissist is even remotely cute.