Wise words from a five-year-old

This isn’t one of those posts where a parent brags about their kid. I do think she’s pretty special, but I’m not going to go there today. However, my daughter said something this morning which I think really nails an elemental truth about what it means to go through life with an open mind, hungry to grow and learn.

This morning my daughter and I arrived a little early at her nursery school, so we sat down together on the floor of its library and read a book together while we waited for her classroom to be ready for a new day of play and learning. Being there with her is always a highlight of my day.

We selected a picture book told in the voice of a grandmother telling her grandchild about what the child’s father was like as a baby and young child. Some of the illustrations showed a kid being happy, some frustrated, some sad, some hungry, and one was about being afraid.

Upon seeing that last one, my daughter said, “It’s okay to be a little afraid, it just means you’re about to learn something.” I teared up there for a second or two. And then I thought about Czikszentmihalyi and flow theory and what it means to live a life of meaning: if we’re engaging with things a little beyond our current abilities, we’re learning and growing.

It’s okay to be a little afraid. I think she’s right, no?