“Can people be like light?” The question comes from a bright-eyed five-year-old (who in my view lights the room wherever she goes …).
“What do you think?” (my almost standard response to children’s questions–lets me know what they already have in mind …)
“I don’t know,” frown, scowl, “that’s why I’m asking YOU!”
(Oops, strategy backfired. Okay, I guess I deserved that)
“Why are you asking?” I am treading carefully here, asking again in a different way, but I am really interested in knowing what the question is about.
“My Nana told me I’m her light,” the girl’s young forehead creases in concentration. “She said, ‘you the light of my life!'”
“Aw … it’s a great expression! And a very sweet thing for her to say. I can totally see why.” Children of her age group often begin to notice that there are some things people say that do not quite make sense: the words don’t add up, and they realize that there has to be another meaning, something else that’s being conveyed by the words but is not the words themselves (e.g. “she has a sharp tongue” or “he has no heart” or “raining cats and dogs” …). Sometimes they can infer the meaning, sometimes they are lost or have some sense they are not sure about. I love it when they ask. “What do you think she meant?”
Girl shoots me a “there she goes again with her Speech Pathologist questions again” look, but she relents. She’s patient with me. “That she loves me?”
“Yep … and what else do you think it can mean that you are the light of her life?” I wait.
Eyebrows up, lips scrunched in thought, “… and … that she’s really happy to have me or happy to see me maybe?”
“Yes! Both. Very much so. Also that you are important to her, and that you bring her joy, and that you make her feel better by simply being you. All of that.”
The child smiles. Beams, more like.
We go on with the session. Suddenly she stops again and asks (it is very often that things percolate a while before another level of query bubbles up to the surface): “Can someone be a light for other people?”
“Do you mean for more than one person?” I want to make sure I understand.
“Absolutely. I think you can be a light in many people’s lives.”
Pause, thought, creased forehead. Smile. “Oh, like, if you turn the light on then it is light for everyone?”
My turn to nod. My turn to smile. Super smart cookie, that one.
“Cool!” Eyes wide. Now that she’s got it, she runs with it. “I wish … I wish I could be a light for every every EVERY ONE in the whole wide world! A big light that goes all over around! You think I can?”
She may not know it, but I think she already is one …