My son and I had a conversation a few weeks back that went a little something like this.

Him: “Did you know that, if it’s hot crocodiles are girls and if it’s cold crocodiles are boys?”

Me: “I don’t think that’s how it works. If you’re a boy you’re a boy and if you’re a girl you’re a girl.”

Him: “No, listen I’m trying to teach you something.”

Me: “Don’t get smart. I’m not going to argue about it.”

This went on for a few more exchanges until he got frustrated and walked away. I chuckled about it for a day or so—crocodiles becoming girls or boys depending on the temperature. That kid sure has some imagination.

The following Sunday I shared the story with a friend of mine and was laughing when I noticed my friend (who is an environmental officer) wasn’t laughing. “Well, to tell you the truth, he’s right.”

This is the part where I acquired some significant learning. You see, apparently the temperature in the nest does indeed determine the sex of the crocodiles in said nest. I spent the rest of the morning trying to decide how I was going to apologize to my son.

I walked away from this experience having discovered three things.

  1. We need to give more credit to preschoolers for what they can learn. And, they can teach us too.
  2. It’s good for my son to understand that even as adults we make mistakes and need forgiveness (especially from them from time to time). My influence as a parent is even greater when I show that I’m not perfect.
  3. I might need to watch a little more PBS, and then I’d know some cool facts about crocodiles too.

What has a preschooler taught you lately?