“What did you do this morning Monty?” I ask my friends’ two and a half year old, knowing that at nine am when we arose he’d already been up for a good three hours.
“At Grandma’s brown, pink and white cake and rode bike,” he says to me in his kids English.
The thing is, what he’s saying isn’t true. He didn’t go to his Grandma’s and eat three cupcakes and ride his bike and I am certain of this because he is here with us - his parent’s and their friends - on holiday in Nelson Bay. But what he has done is quite interesting. Obviously the morning he did have wasn’t that exciting, so he has abandoned reality and remembered a better time.
It’s not a bad philosophy to follow; if the occasion your experiencing is a little underwhelming, find a better memory and pretend you’re there instead.
Take today’s run for example. It was utter rubbish. I was dizzy and sore, had a few wardrobe malfunctions (hat positioning difficulty, drawstring shorts issue and the like) and expended huge amounts of energy trying to run on the hard sand of the beach while simultaneously avoiding the chase of the tide. Rubbish.
And so I remembered a better run, searching my brains for a victorious one…which takes me all the way back to sixteen years old at a high school cross country race. Cross country running wasn’t very popular at my school, so the races were held at morning break time, which put me in quite a quandary because I was always hungry by then and was forced to choose between running or eating. Perhaps that’s why I won the race, because I knew that the faster I ran the sooner I could eat. So that’s what I thought of while I was running my rubbish run, the glory days of high school.
“Monty like brown, pink and white cake. Monty have brown, pink and white cake,” my friends’ son says picking up the conversation.
Note the punctuation. He is not asking for the cupcakes, he is telling us he is going to have them. He has remembered a better time and is now projecting it onto his present. He is Master of his own fate.
And therefore, (as any self-help guru worth their salt will tell you) having envisaged what he wants in his present, it will become his future.
The kid’s a genius. He has (at thirty months of age) mastered a life skill the rest of us are still trying to grasp.
Currently he is lying on the floor scribbling on a piece of paper. But I bet it goes much deeper than that. I’m going to get down there with him and see what else I can learn.