To him, my name is Wall-e. He doesn’t much appreciate when I try to hug him when I see him. Nor does he like when I confuse his plush horse toy for Mr. Prickles. I know he didn’t like it when I pulled him to the ground when we were walking to the park together for the first time. But three-year-old David loves me anyway, and I love that about him.
I remember the moment when I first knew we were bound to be buddies for life. It was about a year ago, and we were walking to the playground and mom had let him hold my leash. It went fine for a bit, until I saw a neighbor dog and flipped out a little. All right, all right, I flipped out a lot. I pulled my poor little new friend to the ground. Don’t worry, it wasn’t hard enough to hurt him, but it was definitely hard enough that I will never forgive myself for losing control like that. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and I could see the confusion on his face.
“Why did you hurt me Wall-e?” he asked. I wished at that moment I could scream that I didn’t mean it, and that I felt terrible. If anything, I wanted to impress him so he’d want to be my pal. So you can imagine my surprise at what he said a few minutes later when we were about to go down the slide together at the playground.
“I forgive you Wall-e,” two-year-old David said, “and I love you.” Honesty is such a priceless treasure, and I realized how priceless it is to me on our journey back to the playground about one year later. He still doesn’t care for my doggie hugs (not to be confused with bear hugs), but I could see it in his eyes today: he really does love me.
If I ever got to spend some time with a big group of school children, I would tell them to cherish their innocence and imagination. I don’t care if they don’t listen or don’t believe me: they need to hear it. So much can be learned from a little person’s perspective on the world. The sky is the limit for imagination. Love comes easy. Forgiveness is never questioned. Want to know about living the high life? Well, from what I can tell it happens between the people ages of about 2 and 8. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
I don’t care that he calls me Wall-e. It doesn’t bother me (too much) that he doesn’t like my hugs. (I mean, who doesn’t like a doggie hug!?) I can move past the misunderstanding about his plush horse toy. But I love him because he loves me. And I will never stop learning from the little people in my life. They are wise beyond their years.