When Little Kids Tell You Their Secrets

Grand daughters, Alina and Madeline
Grand daughters, Alina and Madeline Photo by Autumn Orozco

Greetings! I hope your week is going well. 🙂

I’m feeling very privileged because my grandchildren like to pull me into their rooms, post a crayon-scrawled “Do not desterb” sign on their door and then tell me their secrets.

I honestly did not know I was wonderful enough to be trusted with the secrets of little kids. Did I ever tell a grownup my secrets? Never! Sure, you say, but how earth-shattering could the secrets of six and seven year-olds be? Actually, they can be pretty serious, but I can’t tell you, because they are secrets, and I promised.

“I want to tell you a secret, Nina.”


“Promise you won’t tell anyone.”

“Can keeping the secret cause harm to you or anyone else? Because if it could, then I don’t promise.”


“O.K. then I promise.”

The secret is told in a whisper. While Madeline was telling me hers, her eleven year-old brother burst into the room to tell me something and she howled in outrage. So much so that her eighteen year-old brother came in and hauled him away. “I put a sign on the door!” Madeline exclaimed, appealing to the Door Sign Law. The brothers checked the sign and yup, sure enough, her claim to privacy was perfectly legitimate.

Some aspects of the secrets were disturbing. I refrain from lecturing kids, only because I remember how my brain switched off during lectures when I was little. Instead I ask questions, which they answer with surprising perceptiveness.

We underestimate little kids, we underestimate them badly. We should listen to them more (as if they were real people!) and lecture them less.

I have always believed that each human must develop their own morality so that it will be inside them all their life. If morality is external and imposed on them, then guess what? As soon as “nobody’s looking” there IS NO RIGHT AND WRONG.

Or as the Native American saying goes: Some people live their lives as if God can’t see around corners.


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