Age eight is a pivotal year in human development. I’ve spoken to teachers and developmental psychologists and they’ve told me that’s around the time humans begin thinking about thinking. It’s also when you start becoming aware that you’re part of a larger world.
It also seems to be an age when one’s receptivity to that larger world is heightened, probably because everything is so new. In the book I reviewed recently, The Film That Changed My Life, many of the film directors chose a film they first saw at eight or so. In A Life’s Work, Jill Tarter and Robert Darden we’re first drawn to their passions around the same age.
Here’s Robert talking about the first time he heard Mahalia Jackson.
I remember playing the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy … He’s My Brother” over and over, and the song chokes me up to this day. It was released in 1969 when I was, yep, eight. But I can’t say it made my core reverberate. If it had, perhaps I would have made my life’s work writing the perfect three-minute pop song.
Did you have a similar moment at that age? I would love to hear about it.