I've mentioned before what a precocious little girl I was, but those family stories really are not even the half of it. My parents used to tell people I was "going on 40" (as in 4 going on 40)--I didn't want to be a grown up I thought I was a grown up.
It made sense according to my own logic-I can hold adult conversations, I have many adult responsibilities, and I am just as smart as any adult (yes I can vividly recall thinking exactly that) so why shouldn't I be treated as an equal?
My parents always told me "because you're three (or four or five or six....) that's why" and in response I always said "age is just a number". I still maintain that is a logical argument!
I'm sure I was a joy to raise.
When I was in fourth grade I took my first for-real-actually-counts-on-your-permanent-record standardized test. If my parents had known what was good for them, they probably would have opted me out.
They gave me all the tests for my grade level and I returned with a literally perfect score. Then, following state protocol, they began handing me harder and harder tests to asses my "actual academic grade level". They kept going and kept going and then one day, much to my disappointment (I know, what kind of nerd was I?!) they stopped. My teacher told me that I was not scheduled for any more tests and I was crushed (seriously-nerd alert). In an effort to relieve me my poor, poor misguided fourth grade teacher told me,
"Don't worry-you aren't scheduled for more tests because there aren't anymore tests. If there were, I would give them to you I promise."
"There aren't any more tests?" I remember asking skeptically.
"That's right. You passed them all."
"What does that mean as far as my academic grade level?" Yes, at 8 years old I can guarantee you that I actually said 'academic grade level'.
"It means that you have tested on an collegiate level in all subjects."
"So I could be in college right now?"
"Academically, yes I suppose."
She had no idea what kind of monster she was feeding. Hers was a hand too close to the crocodile tank and I was only too happy to bite it off. From that moment on I was utterly convinced that I was in every way equal to adults. No body could tell me or order me to do anything-they had to convince me that their request (and I always saw it as such) was the most logical course of action.
Clean my room? Why?
Do my homework? Why?
Go to bed? Why?
This last November I turned 24 and I have to admit that in some ways I am the same-I still don't take orders from anybody, and I still demand to be treated as an equal regardless of my age (although now more people are willing to concede that). I have however learned one especially important lesson-you don't know everything until you realize that you don't know anything.
That doesn't mean that you can't know and understand facts and figures, or even be intellectual and philosophical, but just because you comprehend some things here and there-maybe even a lot of things here and there-doesn't mean you know squat. The wisest people know that many things are unknowable and it is far better to be wise than it is to be smart.
Don't you worry though-God definitely got me back on this one. I've learned my lesson about what it means to be a wise adult rather than a smart (mouthed) kid--and now I have my own little Monkey who needs me to teach him about why he isn't a grown up yet.
Is that irony or justice? Maybe a little of both...
[Have more fun over at Mama Kat's place during Writer's Workshop!]