Years ago one of the bright spots of daytime television was Art Linkletter's House Party. My favorite part of the show was Kids Say the Darndest Things, during which Linkletter interviewed schoolchildren between the ages of five and ten. Bill Cosby hosted a Kids Say the Darndest Things show in the late '90s.
Both hosts were very good at getting kids to say well, the darndest things.
I thought of those shows this week when I read a Facebook post by a longtime family friend. This mid-30s mom of three posted a conversation she had with her son:
Son: Anthony Wiener!
Mom: Yeah? Who's that?
Son: Some weirdo.
Son: What'd he do again?
Mom: While he was serving in Congress he used Twitter to send pictures of his privates to women. Some who he knew and some who he didn't know.
Son: Did you get any?
Our friend (who did not get any texts from Anthony Weiner) and her husband have produced some bright kids. A couple of weeks ago she posted on Facebook a conversation with her pre-school daughter:
Mom: Do you like your body?
Mom: What's your favorite part of your body?
Daughter: My brain. It's the best part. It has ideas and can think of amazing things. And it tells my legs and arms what to do.
You don't need a national television show to hear kids say the darndest things. Just keep your ears open.
Worship services in general and children's sermons in particular are good places to keep your ears open. I recall a children's sermon where the leader was promoting a Sunday school mission project raising money for Heifer International, a wonderful program that provides calves, goats, sheep, water buffalo and other animals to families in Third World countries.
To be sure the city kids knew what she was talking about she asked if everyone knew what a heifer was. No one knew. She offered some hints but none of the children caught on.
Finally, one of the older boys in the group raised his hand. The leader asked, "So do you know what a heifer is?"
"Yes," he answered. "It's what my dad calls my mom sometimes."
I doubt the boy's parents enjoyed his observation but the congregation enjoyed a good laugh.
In a former community a family in our church told the story of their youngest son's appeal for prayer. When we began attending this family's church we noticed that their youngest son had to be taken out of the worship service frequently. The boy did not appear to be a rotten little kid; he just couldn't sit still and shut up.
Shortly before we moved to the community, we were told, the young father was fed up with the boy's rambunctious behavior. He picked up the boy and carried him toward the back of the sanctuary.
Just as the pair was about to exit the sanctuary the boy cried out over his father's shoulder, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
When I'm out shopping it is not unusual for a small child to stare at my 6'7", 300-plus pound frame. Sometimes the kid will call his or her parent's attention to me by saying something like, "Mommy, look at that really big man." The parent will usually hush their child, apparently not wanting me to realize I'm large.
Recently a young mom apologized when her little girl called her attention to my size. I assured her all was well. "It's okay," I said, "I'd say the same thing if I were staring into someone's knee caps."
Phyllis Diller hit the nail on the head when she said, "We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up."