As a child, I was always intrigued by the question: what is it that distinguishes a city from a town? Is it size? Population? Location? When I asked grown-ups, the confident answer was that a city has to have a cathedral - which, to a child raised in a devout Catholic setting, made sense.
Many people must have noticed the intense attention given by children to the conversation of grown-ups when they cannot possibly be understanding a word of what they hear. They are trying to get hold of words, and they often demonstrate this fact by repeating joyously some word which they have been able to grasp.
I know I felt like I was ready to be an adult long before the rest of the world agreed. I'd already realized that a lot of grown-ups didn't know any more than I did, and some of them were even dumber than I was, and even the ones who were smarter weren't using their smarts for things I necessarily considered worthwhile.
Our parents all experimented with raising us in a fairly loose, unorthodox way. A huge emphasis was placed on creativity, and our artistic efforts were never dismissed as childish. There was a sense that we - kids and grown-ups - all had the potential to make something of value. Our drawings were not simply destined for the refrigerator.