We had been on the porch, taking turns on the exercise trampoline, and it was time to come in. Out of the blue, she says, “Mom, you know what I don’t understand? Life. Like, what’s the point?”
I just kinda stood there staring at her. I felt like I’d been hit in the face with a big bouncy ball, not by her question, but because she’s five and asking the question.
When I came to and realized this opportunity, I started by asking her what she thinks the point is*, hoping she’d give me the answer in her five-year-old wisdom. She’ll do that quite often, with such clarity and confidence that I can’t believe I’m the adult. She insisted she didn’t know, and that’s why she asked me. I felt a huge responsibility to say something profound or have AN answer, at the very least. The truth is I don’t know, and I have a philosophy degree so that statement is really just too much on its own. But we have to live our lives, and I have some ideas. So I asked her if she thinks it’s about people being happy or being together or being good people to everyone or something else. She nodded and offered her opinion that the point is to play and have fun. But then she clarified that she’s confused about that: how do they make the rules, and why do we play?
I think we have another philosopher on our hands.
*There’s a word for this. Not Socratic or reflective or metacognitive. Help?