“He’s not breathing really well, and they tell us he’ll likely die in a day or two…” a mother was explaining to a group of adults about her father-in-law, and her young son’s grandpa. Her son was sitting in an adjacent room with his good friend, but he wasn’t playing as his mother likely thought he was. He was looking at the back of his mother’s head and listening intently. I could see him visualizing the situation as he tuned out everyone else in the room. He was thinking about his grandpa, suffering and death — and possibly even thinking about what it will feel like when his grandpa is gone.
Many children would rather listen to interesting adult conversation than play with other children. Their minds are processing at amazingly fast rates. “By 4, a child’s brain is more than twice as active as an adult’s. The brain continues to consume glucose at this feverish pitch through age 10 and then slows down until age 16, when it levels off at adult values.” (Steve Nadia, The Oregonian, Technology Review, 12-15-93)