Kids can understand a LOT!
My four-year-old boy Matthew is great at proving that axiom. Here's a couple of examples from the past two days:
- Yesterday the family came to the office to attend a baby shower thoughtfully put together by my co-workers to celebrate our new baby girl (and my return to the office). As we were preparing to board the elevator, Matthew ran over to the opening door. Inside there were already people going down. Instead of simply waiting outside or running inside, he instead stood right by the opening and extended just his arm to block the door. He knew that doing so would hold the door open by by triggering safety sensors. He then hollered, "Hurry up, Dad!" As I got in, one of the people in the elevator marveled that so small a child would understand how to do that! She said, "When he first put his arm, I thought he was playing! But he actually knew to keep the door open that way. I don't think I'd ever have known how to do that at his age!"
- This afternoon, when Lois was cutting up a pastry for him to eat, she reports that he told her, "Mommy, don't cut yourself. The knife is sharp and you need to be careful." As she put it later, he talks just like us!