Monday, March 30, 2015


It's a conversation that started on a packed subway train.

Sadie looked up at Joe and said in a clear, small, voice, "Joe, you have two chins." It was a simple statement of fact. The other riders had difficulty not bursting into laughter at her observation. Joe responded with, "And you only have one."

We thought that was the end of that. Then in church on Sunday, Sadie picks up the thread. "Joe you have two chins and Dave has two chins too!"

Joe, who was sitting beside Sadie, while Ruby was sitting beside me, just nodded quietly.

Sadie didn't take this as affirmation she took it as encouragement.

"But it's OK Joe because when I get really, really, really old. I will be bigger and I might might be bent over when I walk or I might be in a wheelchair, I don't know, but I know for sure I'm going to have two chins."

Sadie is five and she knows that in the very, very, very distant future, she will look differently and maybe move differently. She used this knowledge to establish solidarity.

Why can't others do that?


Anonymous said...

Wiser than I was at her age.

I would have observed the same, but I don't know that I would have drawn the conclusion.


Colleen said...


CapriUni said...

Quick Answer: Because others don't have Joe and Dave as uncles.

Longer Answer: I've been thinking, lately, about that song about bigotry: "You have to be carefully taught," from South Pacific. And I don't think that's really true. I think most of the bigotry out there arises from being careless, not careful. We can all feel uncomfortable around strangers, especially those who are different from the people closest to us, especially as children. If no one helps us acknowledge our feelings, or if people tell us to ignore them, those feelings will just grow, and grow until they fill us up.

But you two, and Ruby's and Sadie's mom and dad have done a lot to help them acknowledge their feelings, and help them understand the difference between "shyness" and "danger.

That's what it's like to be carefully taught.

Anonymous said...

wow what a wise, wise comment she made.