Youngest is enamored with Google Earth. Today, he was searching for our house, winding the satellite image down our canyon, when he noticed a brightly painted speed bump.
"Look!, he exclaimed, "A freshly painted bump! Our bump!"
He had painted the speed bumps on our street last weekend with his Dad and his brothers. He was sure, when he saw the image on his computer, that he was seeing one of the bumps he had painted. From space. His bump. His handywork. With all the uncomplicated and joyful narcissism of childhood, he was sure that his bump, and more importantly, his work, was shining brightly into space for all to see. If he was not the center of the universe in that moment, he was somewhere close.
I could have told him what is true. That satellite images are usually not that fresh, that there was a better than good chance that was our bump he was seeing, but freshly painted by someone else, some distant time ago.
How important is it, really, to correct our children in moments like these? Should I have sided with reality, with the laws of satellites and physics? Would that have prepared him for the shocks of adulthood when, like Oldest, he realizes that the he might be meaninglessly small and indiscernable from space?