One of the volunteer jobs for my hometown church was to make phone calls on Saturday night and schedule the Sunday School pick-up route.

  Then I would ride with the kids on the bus the following morning.

  I remember one of those mornings with particular fondness.

  Brittany gave me her usual warm smile as she sat down next to me on the Sunday School bus.  When she spotted my list of scheduled pick-ups she asked if she could draw something on the other side.

  "Sure," I replied (already wondering what this precocious 5-year-old was going to create for me this time).

  Well, the bouncing of the clunky old BlueBird made it hard for Brittany to control her pencil, but she began drawing with a look of dedicated determination.  Finally she gave me a provocative smile and handed back the clipboard.

  "Can you tell what I just drew?" she asked in a matter-of-fact sort of way.

  Well, the bouncy bus had kept her images from being as smooth as they might have been -- but I could identify a row of side-by-side symbols that looked sort of like a fence.

geometric shapes

  There was a square, an oval, a triangle, and a circle.

  "A fence?" I asked.

  "No!" she said, giving me a mildly scornful look.

  "Okay -- uh -- let's see -- a row of buildings?" I asked, hopefully.

   This time she gave me a severe frown and said, "No, silly!"

  "Well, how about a choo choo train?"

  Now she snatched the clipboard from me and rolled her eyes with a look that said, "I can't believe a grown man could be so dumb!"

  She then held the clipboard out in front of me - and in precise, patient, measured tones, said (pointing to each object) "This is a square.  This is an oval.  This is a triangle.  And this is a circle."

   Sheesh!"

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