I've been spending a lot of time with 6-year-old Cole lately. He was sick last week and he has no school this week so his parents needed me to watch him for periods of time.
It's amazing what goes on in his head. For example yesterday we visited his kindergarten teacher to give her the Christmas gift Cole couldn't give her last Friday because he was out sick.
He noticed she had several presents piled under her Christmas tree and this aroused a great deal of curiosity about how they got there and how she managed to get on Santa's early-delivery list. I fudged the answer as best I could which seemed to satisfy him-for a while anyway.
The next thing he wanted to know was how I liked being old. I told him I didn't have any problem being old as long as I felt well and do things. Then he wanted to know why people had to die. I tried to explain in 6-year-old terms that life is a cycle and that nothing lives forever so that room could be made for new life to have a chance. That didn't work because then he said well just move to where there's more room so I had to take a different approach and try to explain that as people age their bodies wear out and then new life takes over.
Later on he saw a picture in my Reader's Digest magazine of a soldier who was smiling because he had just rec'd a new leg after having lost his real one in Afghanistan. This prompted a whole series of questions. Why was he smiling if he had no leg? Why do people fight? Why do countries fight and shoot and kill and hurt each other? Why can't they stop doing things like that? All excellent questions and extremely hard to answer. Sometimes the best answer is "I don't know". He doesn't usually buy that though. He basically demands that I at least speculate on an answer which I attempt to do in a very clumsy way.
Eventually he has enough to think about until the next time he hears or sees something that prompts a whole new round of questioning. Hope I or whoever is there is ready.