I was a very sophisticated six year old. You see, turning six meant that I was no longer bound by the tedious process of learning my ABCs. I was writing in complete sentences and occasionally flexed my cursive skills. I even offered courses during recess on how to tie one's shoes.
Although regarded as a class clown, I was still about my business. My largest concerns were taking the top spot as the best speller in the class, mastering my swing set jump (including sticking the landing), and convincing the lunch ladies that I needed a few extra tater tots. Little Tori was a charming and precocious first grader.
Boys, however, were the least of my concerns. Early on, I realized that they were wildly immature and frighteningly oblivious.
Until I met Sanjay.
He was, like myself, a complex and curious six year old. Sanjay was unusually reserved, during recess you could find him perfecting his latest karate move or intensively learning to count to 20 in Spanish.
The assigned seat gods permitted me to sit next to in him in class and I was wildly intrigued. I recall watching him write his S's from the bottom up and I was baffled. That was not how we were taught to write our S's, that was not how Mrs. Braddock wrote her S's, and that was most definitely not how I wrote my S's. Naturally, I wanted to see what the hype was about and started writing my S's from the bottom up.
This display of defiance (or simple preference) pushed me to find other odd things Sanjay did. While our classmates played house, I coerced him into letting me play secret agent spy. With time, he even taught me his favorite karate moves and how to count in Spanish. We began to develop a friendship, sharing snacks, pencils, and tater tots.
It was the first time I had taken a significant interest in someone other than Scooby-Doo. Being six years old is a valid excuse to be self-centered, but this was the first time that I wanted to actively learn about someone that was completely different than myself. In retrospect, it laid the foundation for how I value every type of relationship that I have.
Whether romantic, platonic, or familial, relationships should be rooted in the desire to learn the other person. Emphasis should be always placed in discovering the beauty in your differences and bonding over your similarities. It is not about who you may think someone should be, it's about appreciating someone for who they already are.
I know this sounds hella heavy for a six year old, but I told y'all I was sophisticated. And embarrassingly enough, I still write my S's from the bottom up.
-The Good-Natured Troublemaker