Sometimes I think my 6-year-old is a genius.
Not literally. I saw an amazing 2 year old on Ellen this week that can identify the flag of any country, and while my son is intelligent, he's not at that level. I'm just constantly impressed with all that he can do, especially when I compare him to my other children at the same age.
He began reading by himself when he was 3, and didn't wait around for Mommy to teach him how to sound everything out. He would instead ask his older brother "Is that an R?" To his older sister, "Does that sign say STOP?" Maybe he could have identified every flag in the world or memorized US geography if I'd worked with him more, but I have to be honest, I was too busy wrangling three other children to worry about getting him on a TV show.
He continues to be an avid reader. He asks deep questions, focusing on how something works or why it exists, and often surprises me with his insights. And he's so confident--he believes he can do things that my other three kids didn't even start doing until a year or two ago.
I wish I could say that this confidence came from me. That I sprinkled some magical parenting dust and bequeathed him confidence at birth. But I think the answer lies in the non-parental units of my family.
My 6-year-old has had 3 siblings his entire life, along with a front-row seat to all their struggles and milestones. He watches my 10-year-old do math at the kitchen table, and when he works on his fractions my youngest wants to learn about them, too. When my 12-year-old builds worlds in Minecraft, he enthusiastically observes all the steps and makes suggestions. And when my 8-year-old daughter listens to Harry Potter on loop *all day,* even though it's not something he would have picked for himself, he's still abs
orbing pieces of the narrative and identifying characters in the story.
And my favorite party trick of them all--when he was 4, he learned how to make himself a sandwich.
As he watches those closest to him continually prove that something can be done, he has no reason to believe that he can't do it, too. After all, 8 isn't that much older than 6. And 10 isn't that far from 8. And is 12 really all that special?
He has seen what is possible. And his confidence comes from knowing that what is possible is possible for him.
As I continue to grow my business, I often find myself thinking of my youngest son. I can read books and listen to podcasts, and see all of what is possible. But when I find myself in a room with those who are only a few steps ahead of me, who have been where I've been and are still standing, I gain a new type of confidence. After all, the woman across from me has been leading her company for ten years--that's not too far away. And the entrepreneur next to me has successfully hired a staff of employees that work hard and believe in their business. That will be me soon.
What is possible for these real, live, tangible people is possible for me.
And if I'm not sure what I'm seeing, I can always ask, "Does that sign say STOP?"
Thank you to all the sign-readers out there. Just know, if anyone ever thinks that I'm a freaking genius, it will be because of you.