Monday, March 5, 2012

The Matthew Mind

The fact that I drove Matthew to school today is a story in itself. The short version is that the most stubborn child this world has ever seen, decided 30 seconds before the bus arrived that he needed his red gloves. I told him the gloves were in the car. He ran to get them, found only one, and refused to get on the bus. I began dragging him down the driveway toward the bus, but gave up. He literally dug in his heels and refused to move, so I waved the bus driver away.

Fifteen minutes later, still fuming mad, I was driving him through Rehoboth's country roads to school. We passed the Christmas tree farm where we tag and cut our tree every year and Matthew said, "Do you think they're planting new trees?"

"I'm sure they will soon," I said.

As soon as I said it, I started thinking about their re-planting program. I wondered how they decided where to plant, whether they planted an entire field or one tree at a time, and how they planted with all those stumps and roots in the ground. Matthew broke my train of thought with this question: "Why do they leave all the stumps in the ground?" I paused, surprised by the realization that my 5-year-old was going through the same thought process I was.

"That is a great question," I said. "They must take them out. But they probably wait until the spring, when the ground is a little warmer."

That answer satisfied Matthew and we rode for a few more minutes in silence. As we approached the school, there was a long line of buses and minivans, so we had to stop and wait.

"What do the bus drivers do after they drop off the kids?" Matthew asked.

"What do you mean?" I responded.

"After they go to school and all the kids get off, what do they do the rest of the morning?" he asked.

"Maybe they go home and wait," I said. The answer probably did not satisfy him, and I expect someday he'll ask the bus driver what she does all morning. That's just the way his mind works – the most stubborn, inquisitive, infuriating and fascinating mind I've known. That's the Matthew Mind.

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