My Brain Hurts Sometimes

Today Claire asked, “What is a symbol?”

I tried to answer. A symbol is a small picture that represents a thing that has a certain meaning. The letter T for the “t” sound, for example. Words are symbols. A red light is a symbol, telling people to make their car stop at it, while a yellow light means to slow down and a green one to go. A logo — like the eagle on the side of the mail truck — is a symbol for the company that is called the U.S. Postal Service. A picture of a heart means love. Candy canes are symbols for Christmas.

Then she asked, “What is the symbol for the universe?”

Wow! I told her there are many symbols — religious ones, scientific ones, artistic ones — but that the universe was sooooooo big that no one symbol can completely show what the universe is or means.

That seemed to satisfy her for that moment. More stuff for that growing brain to think about!

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5 Comments on “My Brain Hurts Sometimes”

  1. Mom/Grandma Says:

    I wonder about the source of the word ‘universe’ – unusual word for a three year old to bring to the table?
    From a song/book/quote or something else?

  2. Kathy G Says:

    i found this.. very interesting.

  3. Fran aka Redondowriter Says:

    Wow.What a concept to try to explain to a 3-year-old. You did good, mom. Show her some fractal pages sometime.

  4. Kathryn Says:

    Mom – not sure. She’s asking a lot of questions these days that I wonder what seed they spring from.

    Kathy — that IS interesting, especially so to me because I have the Aum tattooed on my right arm (and a Celtic knot on my left).

    Fran — I’m glad you mentioned fractals. They are astounding. I first learned about them back in grad school, in a book titled Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. I just did an image search and am amazed at what’s available to view.

  5. Jan Says:

    You did a great job of explaining, Mom. One of the things I like best about this age is that inquisitive kids make us stop to rethink what we take for granted. I haven’t thought of these subjects in ages. Thanks so much for sharing.