Every night before bedtime, and sometimes before school, Sean and AD will read at least one chapter from a book of children’s classics.
Having gone through most of the other more exciting and well known titles, we are down to Pollyanna. But he is just as enthralled with Pollyanna as he was with The Swiss Family Robinson.
Stepping up to chapter books like Tom Sawyer and Oliver Twist has presented many opportunities to talk about some of the more unsavory and unpleasant aspects of life. Many of the characters are orphaned or suffer cruelty at the hands of those who should protect them. And there is always a concern to AD and me over how much of this kind of information is appropriate for a five-year-old.
But the thing about Sean that continually amazes us is how wise he is beyond his years and how tenderly perceptive he is about the human condition and matters of the heart. Although we would certainly like to claim credit for that, it’s simply the way God made him.
If you don’t recall or haven’t read the story of Pollyanna, she is a young girl who was orphaned and goes to live with her Aunt Polly who is a cold and crusty middle-aged spinster. Aunt Polly suffered a thwarted romance early in her life which left her bitter and she has never gotten over it. Aunt Polly has a big house, yet she makes Pollyanna sleep in a hot, stuffy, bleak attic and in general gives Pollyanna no affection. Nonetheless, as the story goes, it is Pollyanna’s way to see the silver lining in every gray cloud.
At one point in the story, AD stopped reading and looked over the book at Sean who was lying in bed. “Why do you suppose Aunt Polly is so gruff?” he asked.
“I think she has a children ache,” Sean said quietly.
“Oh Sean,” AD sighed, “I think you are so right. A lot of times when people are gruff on the outside, and sad or mean, it’s because they are hurting on the inside.”
It’s true. I had a children ache once too.