Tiarnan is six years old. Normally, one has
certain expectations of what being six years old entails. Tiarnan, however, in
some ways, is busily ignoring these expectations.
Last night, as I was trying to settle him
down to sleep. He suddenly perked up and looked at me, as if I might be able to
provide the solution to something that was bothering him.
“Is life about a dream?”
I paused, in a little surprise at his
question. He had a little smile on his face, as if he had had certain beliefs
about my response. Before I could formulate a response, he launched another
unexpected question at me:
“Why is real life real?”
This time there was no smile. He was very
serious about it.
“What do you mean?”, I prompted, not fully
understanding where his question was reaching, at first.
“How come I exist?”, he continued, as if
this question explained the last.
“Mummy and Daddy made you.”
He smiled at that – as if he didn’t quite
believe that was all there was to it.
“I know. The fat guy did it.”
“The fat guy? You mean God?”
He just smiled an answer and looked away at
I settled him down for the night. This was
not the first time Tiarnan had asked such deep questions, but each time he did
so, he managed to floor me – for they never seemed likely to come out of the
mouth of such a small boy. Clearly, he had big thoughts, for one so small.
Tiarnan is but beginning his life – but he
is already considering the meaning of life, its essence, purpose and origin. He
is not satisfied to just exist – he is questioning how that existence came
about – and, as he had made clear, he is not satisfied with the answers his
environment (school and home) has been providing him. He is not sure whether to
believe the answers he is told. Somehow he feels they miss something out. Of
course, he is right...all the answers are far too simple to explain the
complexities and subtleties of his questions. Perhaps I should have a
conversation with him about evolution, for instance – and the origin of life.
I think, sometimes, society underestimates
little children. Some people have the tendency to think such children don’t
have meaningful thoughts. This is a mistake. Some little kids are busy thinking
very big thoughts indeed. We do them no credit to ignore this possibility.
Thank you, Tiarnan for sharing your
thoughts with me. They are always refreshing to hear. I hope I never cease to
be surprised by them.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: In the eyes of a child, philosophical thinking, precocity, Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley, Tiarnan's philosophy, Tiarnanism, young philosopher