Becoming Clever at Age Six

E. H. Shepard, “Now We Are Six”


My oldest granddaughter turns six today and my grandson turned six in January so I send out this A. A. Milne poem to the two of them. My educator wife says that the poet gets the age just right. In their early years, children can’t remember who they were, nor can they see their lives in any larger framework. By the time they are six, however, they can probably remember back to at least four, which allows them to make comparisons and begin predicting how the world works.

At six, they are also cracking the code of reading, which opens up an independent world of learning so that all information doesn’t come just from their parents.  This allows them to see themselves as having a role to play in events and decision-making. Full days at school also help them see themselves as part of something beyond family.

At the same time, first grade does not impose the harsh grading judgments that later grades will. Which means that staying six forever and ever sounds pretty good.

The End

By A. A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.

When I was two,
I was nearly new.

When I was three,
I was hardly me.

When I was four,
I was not much more.

When I was five,
I was just alive.

But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

Happy birthday, Esmé and Alban.

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

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