Kids Are Much Smarter Than You Think

Putting five-year-old Anthony down for the night, we were lying in bed and chatting, and out of the blue he says...

When I get big, if you're not dead, I'll become a spaceship person and go up to the stars and check how much big they are, how much round, how much heavy....

I sort of chuckled at the “if you're not dead” part, but didn't comment. Since his great-grandmother died recently, and the ensuing funeral and such, we've had some matter-of-fact talks about death, and he seems to understand things well, and be at peace with the circle of life and his place in it.

I did, though, comment about how in this case it should be “how big” rather than “how much big”, etc., at which point he continued...

If you're still not dead, I'll come back and tell you how big the stars are.

The conversation meandered on, eventually turning to death, then Heaven, and then God....

Did God make the stars?          (I replied yes)
Did God make space?          (I replied yes)
Did God make Himself?

Wow, that's a great question, I told him, and then said that I didn't think so... that God always was.

How do you know?

Well, I don't know, I just think so.

So who made God?

It's hard to understand... God always was, with no beginning and no end....

Like numbers?


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

“Wow” is right. Children are an amazing gift for all of us who were children once (that is, all of us). We are truly lucky to be entrusted with their lives for as long as they will let us.

— comment by Arthur on June 22nd, 2008 at 10:27pm JST (15 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

I can’t wait until Genbo is able to comprehend the fact that even though there are an infinite amount of counting numbers, there are even infinitely more irrational numbers. I’m thinking I might have to wait until next month.

There’s something that I’ve not been very clear on. I know that there are an infinite number of fractional numbers between each integer. If you sum up those infinities (for each of the infinite integers), is that infinity more than the irrational-number infinity? Also, when you take either of these super-infinities and divide them by zero, what do you get? I’ll ask Genbo next time I see him… —Jeffrey

— comment by Zak on June 22nd, 2008 at 11:31pm JST (15 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey – I can’t remember how I stumbled across your blog but I thought it appropriate to let you know that I am reading and enjoying it. You have a wonderful idea for the details that make Japan so special; reading your blog reminds me of everything I love (and hate (accommodating smokers!)) about the country. I also really enjoy your postings about Anthony. It’s clear that he is a great kid and you adore him.
I lived in Japan (Kumamoto) in the early 90s and have returned several times since, for both work and pleasure, most recently last October with my husband, almost 2-year-old daughter, and my parents. Niether my husband nor my daughter (Christina) had been in Japan before and so it was a very special trip to Tokyo, Kumamoto, Osaka and Kyoto. Have you taken Anthony to the Osaka Aquarium yet? Christina loved it.

Thanks for providing some natsukashii moments for me.


— comment by Karen NV on June 23rd, 2008 at 3:55am JST (15 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Your answers aren’t bad either….. I wouldnt have even thought of them…

— comment by mmk on June 23rd, 2008 at 4:24am JST (15 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Wow. I read this to my wife just now. I can see that we’re in for a real treat when our little girl grows up enough to start talking. (She’s a month or so from being born right now.)

And I agree with mmk: Your answers are pretty darned clever! Anthony is a lucky boy.

— comment by Eric on June 23rd, 2008 at 9:11am JST (15 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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