It all starts at school. Zero to four are the pure years. They don’t usually know bad words or how to become top dog of the group. Then they begin Kindergarten.

“Dad, what does sexy mean?”, asked our five year old pure blue-eyed lad. What on earth? Where on earth? “Not for kids, son” said the wise father. “That’s what I told the other kids” said the five year old wiseling (“PHEW!”, breathed the parents).

It all starts here and now. The growing, the learning, the eyes widening to the ways of the world. A world that is far from pure, kind or comfortable. What a shock to the system it will be when they know the stuff we know; not that you want your kids wrapped in ‘cotton wool’. But it is a shame that they have to learn the bad with the good. Such is life!

Infants school can bring out the best or worst in a child, depending on where they sit on the social ladder and what kind of child they are. There are the small, weak ones, perhaps younger than all the others. They take longer to learn, they get nervous and do embarrassing things. Their cheeks get redder, their hole gets deeper; it’s a hard place to escape.

It’s so interesting to observe the inner workings of the Kindergarten world. I am humbled by it actually. I see kids behaving as adults do, though kids do it unashamedly, right in your face. Human nature can be so nurturing, kind and equally, damaging, selfish and cruel. It’s built in, taught, modelled. This humbling reflection of the adult world gives me pause. What am I teaching my kids with my mutterings and opinions and behaviour?

Our precious little sponges, sponge off us first, then off to the big old world. Once the Kindergarten train has left the station, this world is opened up. If only we’d kept those rose coloured glasses from our own childhood, they would have come in handy right about now.

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