When I was nine years old, someone told me, “Children think that they know everything.”
I pondered that. “Hmm, do I believe that I know everything? Let me take a very careful look at the current state of my mind, so that I can remember it for comparison in the future. There are a lot of facts I don’t know, and grown-up things I don’t know how to do, like paying bills and stuff. But in terms of how my brain works, I don’t see that adults have any advantage. For example, if you were to give a riddle to both me and an adult, I don’t think they’d be any more likely to figure out the answer.”
I probably used around half of that vocabulary, but the core ideas were all there.
I don’t fully agree with my childhood self, since I don’t believe my mental capacity has remained stagnant through time and experience. But it’s one of many memories that support my view of children as fully conscious humans.
Remember that, the next time a child seems lost in their own world. They are likely much more present – thinking, feeling, observing, and analyzing – than they seem.