From Jo Floyd Lucas
Kids say the darndest things. They really do. I must have that very thought dozens of times each day, especially now that I’m spending every day with my two grandchildren. I remember many times my own four children had me laughing in wonder and delight at something they’d said, and now I regret not writing all of them down. I wasn’t smart enough to see it at the time, but I’m certain that if I read them now I would see the wisdom in their remarks, rather than just the simple humor of them.
My grandson, Tony, is a little philosopher. Chronologically he’s only seven years old, but his soul is that of a much older man. His eyebrows are often knitted in serious thought, and he feels things like love and sympathy very deeply. He once told me it was ‘pretty silly’ for his mom and dad to sometimes forget that he was “the best thing that ever happened to them.” Oh, yes, this boy can philosophize.
Now that I’m ensconced here in the serenity of Portland for a few precious days to visit my daughter, Andrea, I have a little time to rehash and relish some of the wisdom I’ve heard from my little philosopher lately. One recent conversation had a particular resonance to me.
As some of you may know, I have assigned every day of the week to a certain activity or pursuit this summer. It’s a great way to help children to know what to expect each day. To a four year old (as my granddaughter is), ‘Monday,’ ‘Tuesday,’ and ‘Wednesday’ may hold little, if any, meaning, and there is sure to be confusion when discussing our plans for the week. But if we say, ‘Arts & Crafts Day,’ ‘Library Day,’ and “Writing Day,’ they quickly learn what to expect.
This summer, we’ve named Friday ‘Adventure Day.’ It’s a day when we explore, attend an event, go to visit friends, or think up some other outing for the day. As it turns out, we have also unwittingly turned it into Dairy Queen Day by ending the outing with a free treat from DQ (thanks to coupons saved for eons, I should be able to make it through August). Sitting in Dairy Queen, watching Tony & CiCi enjoy a rare ‘junk food’ treat, and waxing philosophic, has become the high point of the week for me. Last Friday, here’s how the conversation went, while Tony eagerly devoured his Dilly Bar;
“So, Yia-Yia,” he began. “You know about this Circle of Life thing, right?”
“Well, yes, I think I know what you mean by that,” I replied.
“Really, do you?” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure,” I said, “but why don’t you refresh my memory?” I was puzzled now, wondering what he was thinking, and how we’d gotten on this dicey topic. This could end badly, I mused. Had he been watching The Lion King or something?
“You know,” Tony said, his eyes shining now. “Like how bugs get eaten, then the bird that ate the bug gets eaten.”
“Yeah, exactly,” I said. “That’s called ‘the food chain.’”
“No, it’s the Circle of Life,” he insisted.
“Really?” I replied.
“Yeah, it’s this way, Yia-Yia. The animals eat each other, then the lion doesn’t have anyone to eat him, so when he dies, his body lays there on the ground until it becomes part of the earth, then the earth grows the grass that the other animals and the antelope eat, and THEN,” he said dramatically, “That’s when the circle starts over again!”
“Ohhhhh,” I said seriously. “So it just goes on and on like that?”
“Yep,” Tony replied. “It’s like people living and dying and growing up and having babies and the circle starting over again. Same thing. It’s the entire whole earth.”
I was impressed with his understanding of the concept. “Wow. That’s right,” I replied. “I think you’re exactly right. “
“Okay,” Tony said. “I was just checkin’ to see if you knew about it.”
God, I love my little philosopher.
Okay, friends. Here it is. Everything has a life span. Everything and everybody. Nothing is exempt. We’re all in this grand Circle of Life together. From the tiniest bug to the entire whole earth. I’m just checkin’ to make sure you know.
When I was searching for 'The Circle of Life' from The Lion King I ran across this version, which I thought was very inventive. Enjoy!