Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm Not Ready (The Hard Things)

Hard parental discussions are framed in my head by children than are ages 10 years old and older.  I figure my crowd, the under 5 crowd, should be filled with questions about where candy comes from, when can we ride a tractor and when can I get married.   Can I get an amen on this one?

Things I didn't bargain for?  A 4.5 year old that is far too perceptive and inquisitive for his own good.  So perceptive, in fact, that he asked me yesterday morning in the car why there were so many flags out.  Seriously?  This is where my commitment to be honest about all the things to the point it's appropriate seems questionable (I'm looking at you Mom, Ms. I-don't-know-what-bastard-means).  Turns out 9-11 is a tricky thing to explain to an anxious, perceptive, sensitive kid.

Time will tell on if I gave the right, or enough, or too much, information.  I told Ell that some bad guys killed a lot of people because they didn't like our country and that the flags are the way we can remember them. He accepted this, we moved on to discussion of Goofy throwing up in my car. . . until this morning.

"Mommy, why do some people have to die before us?"  Death is a common source of questions in the mind of a 4.5 year old, so I answered that we are all going to die someday and no one knows when that might be.  "Why did those bad guys have to kill all those people? What happened to the bad guys?"  Twenty-four hours later and his wheels still turning, trying to make sense of the unreasonable.  Raising children in a world of uncertainty is tough, but the world is no more uncertain than it has always been.  The question is how to balance protection and honesty, to raise bold & brave children not cowed by fear of coulds and might happens?  Right now my answer is simplified honesty.  I don't know that it's right, but it's right for right now.


Tranquillity Akins said...

I think you said the right thing. Honesty is important, especially for kids like Ell who are smart, sensitive, and maybe more mature than other kids their age. I'm the same way with my daughter, now 9. One of the blessings I have found is that in trying to help a young mind understand (even the senseless things) I gain a certain level of understanding too. Just keep doing the right thing, because you ARE doing the right thing.

Susan Kleinwechter said...

Amen. Kids learn that they can ALWAYS come to you with questions when you answer them. Those lessons carry forward to teenage years.#EmptyNest