Liam has been blowing me away with his smarts for years. When he took apart my back door at 14 months of age, I knew he was smart. When he was doing basic subtraction unsolicited at age 3, I was shocked (and proud!).
He did it to me again the other day.
We were on our way to Tae Kwon-Do and we were discussing the fact that he will have to test to move up from white belt. The idea of taking this test was obviously weighing on him a bit so I was reassuring him that they wouldn’t test him until they were sure he was ready. I told him that he would be taught everything he was supposed to know to get his next belt before he took the test and that we could work together to learn his numbers. (He has to know the numbers 1-10 in Korean to earn his yellow stripe.)
Then we began talking about how Tae Kwon-Do will make him strong.
“Yeah, because I do all those kicks and punches. It makes my arms and legs strong,” he said.
“Yes,” I replied. “It makes you strong in other ways, too. It makes you strong in ways that don’t have anything to do with your muscles. It makes you strong of spirit.”
“Yes!” he exclaimed. “Like Spirited Away!”
We’re big fans of Hayao Miyazaki in this house and Liam has seen a number of his films. Spirited Away is still one of his favorites, and it’s one of mine, too. I saw it years before we ever had kids and it took me several viewings to really understand the plot and take away its true message – that being strong of spirit can really take you places.
Liam got it without any prompting. I thought he just saw it as a cool story with a fairy tale like plot. I shouldn’t be surprised that he picked up on this, but I am. He’s so perceptive about such big concepts and he can turn it around and apply it to the stuff he does everyday. It just amazes me.
When I talk about these sorts of things, I’m always afraid of coming off as the overly proud parent. I think my kid is really smart. Scary smart, really. But doesn’t every parent? Also, because Liam is my first child, I have nothing to gauge his accomplishments against so for all I know, every 5.5 year old grasps these concepts. What I do know is that my kid astounds me on a regular basis with his smarts, his humor, and his loving nature. I love him for it.