Five days a week, I work in an elementary school. I absolutely love my job and I love my kids. The more time I spend with them, though, the more I find myself wishing that the world was full of six-year-olds instead of rebellious preteens, over-confident twenty-somethings and cranky forty-somethings.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “Why would you want a world full of six-year-olds? They can’t even hold a marker without somehow ‘accidentally’ coloring on their own faces!”
That’s true. Very true, actually.
But let’s be honest – there are a lot of really awesome things about being six.
1. You make friends easier than any other age group.
Like. Everyone. You could know someone for approximately five minutes of your short life and already know that you’re going to be best friends. I was at a new school the other day and a lovely little girl walked up to me and said, “What’s your name?” When she found out that we actually had the same name, she exclaimed, “We’re best friends!” She then continued to tell everyone that we were best friends and, when her mother came to pick her up at the end of the day, the little girl said, “Mom, look! I made a friend today and we even have the same name.” If it were that easy to make friends in your twenties, I wouldn’t be sitting awkwardly by myself in my biology lecture right now.
2. You can’t stay mad for more than about 32 seconds.
Think about it for a moment. When was the last time a six-year-old stayed mad at you for more than about 32 seconds? They just can’t do it. You can take away a toy or make them do their homework and, after a brief period of anger, they’ll wander back up to you and tell you that you’re pretty. If we were all six, the divorce rate would definitely go back down.
3. Honesty isn’t scary, it’s natural.
Now, this might be a good thing but it might be a really dreadful thing. I know far too many people that are absolutely terrified of saying what they feel but, not surprisingly, none of those people are six years old. I have had my kids tell me that my hair looks nice, that I smell like potatoes and that I “must not have put on make-up today.” Despite the fact that, sometimes, I literally have no idea why they’re saying what they’re saying, they can be the sweetest creatures in the world. For example, we played a game recently that involved turning to a friend and telling them what you like about them. One of my kindergarteners turned to me, squinted at me for a few minutes, and said, “I like your eyes and your hair and you’re also fun and nice!” Can’t beat that.
4. You don’t need to be ashamed of your weirdness.
There is no judgement in the world of six-year-olds. Yes, your entire outfit is the same color. Yes, you can make all of the noises from the “What Does the Fox Say?” song. Yes, you genuinely believe that your pet rock is your friend. And yet you still have someone to play with at recess. So you’ve gotta be doing something right.
5. Love is easy and your heart is virtually unbreakable.
You’re six. The boy sitting next to you in math has a nice smile and a pretty cool pencil, so he should probably be your boyfriend. And if he decides to play on the playground with little Susie instead tomorrow? Well, there’s always another boy with a cool pencil.
6. There are no boundaries. You are whoever you want to be.
Today, your favorite color is purple and your favorite food is pasta. Yesterday, your favorite color was green and your favorite was definitely pizza. Tomorrow? Who knows. And the best part is, nobody expects you to know who you are yet. Because you’re six years old. It’s okay if you want to be King Arthur when you grow up (okay, I knew that was far-fetched, but that’s what I wanted to be).
Overall, working with grade schoolers has made me realize that we all need to be more like six-year-olds. I mean, how much better would our world be if we were honest and loving and unafraid to be ourselves, even if we aren’t entirely sure who that is?