Lesson in Humility From a 5-Year-Old

My five-year-old grandson was eating his favorite sandwich–peanut butter and Nutella–at our house Wednesday, so I sat down to keep him company.

As he was eating, he looked up at me and said, “Papaw, I know everything there is to know about space.”

I said, “Well, Knox, that is very impressive. What all do you know?” He proceeded to tell me how many planets there were, which ones were the largest and smallest, how the universe relates to our solar system, among other facts.

Of course I do not know enough about space to know if he was factual or not, but he related the information with such authority that I assume he was right.

When he finished and took another bite of his sandwich, I followed up with additional questions, just to keep the conversation going. (My family says questioning is one of my fortes.) One question I asked was, “Why is the moon different sizes during each month?”

He stopped eating and was silent for at least twenty seconds; I could see the wheels turning in his curious, bright, five-year-old brain. Finally he turned to me and said, “Well, Papaw, I guess I don’t know everything there is to know about space after all.”

I learned about humility from Knox. If only as adults we would be able to admit it when we don’t know everything; if only we’d have the wisdom to keep quiet on a subject; if only we would learn to say simply, “I don’t know.” Needless talk might diminish and we could search for real answers to our problems.

Elevator Talk

The elevator is a great place to converse with a stranger.  You are in a confined space, often within a comfortable distance to engage in conversation.  You don’t want to be impolite and ignore the person, so you smile and ask an innocuous question.

This past Saturday, while attending the NCAA Regional Men’s Basketball Tournament in Louisville, my son and I were in the elevator at the Brown Hotel.  We got on the elevator with a well-dressed older couple.  As the doors closed, I smiled and asked, “Where do you live?”

The gentleman’s answer was, “Here.”

Since it was a Saturday morning, I assumed that they must be attending a special event at the hotel, so I said, “Are you here for a wedding?”

I thought he said, “This is where we married.”

I then said, “Then you are here to celebrate a special anniversary?”

“No,” he said, a little exasperated at my confusion.   “We are getting married today at 4:30!”

Wow!  I wasn’t expecting that answer from a couple probably in their mid- seventies.  My son and I then shook hands with the beaming couple, congratulated them, and wished them success. We chuckled as we left the elevator, a little embarrassed and yet inspired by the obvious optimism and happiness of this couple.

Don’t ignore people on an elevator.  You just might get your energy boost for the day by engaging in conversation with the stranger next to you; whether the elevator is going up or down, you might find yourself uplifted.