Caden: "Maybe Bigfoot is really just a lonely bear."
I loved this but wanted an explanation. "You think so? What makes you say that?"
He shrugged. "Maybe he's just a bear who decided to stand on two legs and walk around."
We had not been talking about Bigfoot on that occasion. These are apparently just the types of things he thinks about.
This was not the first time Caden had offered a different view on a character I would not have classified as sympathetic. The first time he did this was regarding Krampus, a horned, beast-like figure from European folklore said to creep into the homes of naughty children at Christmas to carry them away from their families forever.
"He sounds scary!" I had squealed in mock terror when Caden and Sevilla had first told me about this beastie.
Sevilla had laughed and agreed, but Caden had looked at me thoughtfully. "Well, really he's just helpful," he said.
I asked how so, and he explained how he was taking away the naughty children. "Maybe he's actually being nice," he said.
The second time he did this was regarding the Headless Horseman. Again, Sevilla and I had been the ones cringing, clutching each other and giggling as we watched the Headless Horseman chase down Ichabod Crane. Caden, however, had seen another side. He thought perhaps the Headless Horseman was just lonely and missed his head.
I love seeing this side of him. I love that he can reflect on a person's motivations and what's really going on inside. I try to teach my kids compassion and to consider another person's perspective without making assumptions or jumping to judgment, but it turns out he's way ahead of me on all of that. And this could not make me happier.