Yes, one of the many questions and conversations creeping up on us parents when the kids start to gain real awareness of things. They question everything, and they won’t settle until they get an answer that appears logic to them. We are fools if we think we can fool them. Kids are sharp, real sharp, and they know when you are trying to hand them nonsense on a platter.
One of my close friends have a 6 year old daughter, at the time I believe she was 5. She is the most adorable and seriously clever young lady. Every night they are reading the bible. One night, the questions started to come, and it went down something like this:
Daughter: “Mum, did you know Jesus?”
Mum: “Ahm, no, sweetie, I didn’t”
Daughter: “Mum, did Grandpa know Jesus?”
Mum: “No, baby, let’s keep reading”
Daughter: “But Mum, did Grandpa’s papa know Jesus?!”
Mum: “No, he didn’t!
Daughter: “So, who wrote the book then?”
Mum: “People around him did”
Daughter: “But, Mum, how can we love someone that we don’t even know?”
Oh no, they won’t accept just any answer.
And isn’t that one of the key learnings we have to make from our own children? Their questions force us to consider our own standpoint on various topics, makes us question the way we look at the world and other people. The way we express ourselves suddenly becomes very important, and I am not referring to cursing (guilty :)), that’s the bear minimum, no, I am talking about nuances in language, the words we choose and how we can speak differently to different people in different environments. Kids pick up on all of these signals, like little sponges they soak up whatever dishwater we serve them, clean or dirty. They will store it and use it when you least expect. And worst part of it is, you can’t really blame them!
But most of the times, I would have to say the conversations are hilarious! No one ever told me that you would laugh so much with (and sometimes at :)) your kids! Especially when they reach the age of awareness. It is a pure joy to listen to their long (sometimes excruciatingly long) monologues about going to space, and about the red rocket, that has a mouse at the driving seat, that has two giant, huge, massive boosters on the back, and how it will go to space and back in one minute and 30 seconds, and now the time is 5pm, and we have to go to school and then… and then…. Yes, you get the picture! Patience is key here, to let them finish their very long sentences. If you try to interrupt, it may be perceived as a lack of interest, or that you are trying to correct them, truth is they are not looking for your input, it seems more like it’s their way of processing information coming in. Evaluating it, out loud, all in one go. I love it!
Few times, however, the conversations have been a lot more serious.
Once, on the way home from a day at Aquaventure Water Park, on The Palm Jumeirah, my 5 year old son suddenly turns off the radio. Now, when he turns off the radio, I know it has to be serious, since he absolutely LOVES the radio. He turns to me, with eyes piercing through my skin, all the way to my spine:
Son: “Mum, how did my baby-brother come into your stomach?
(Mum freaking out!)
Mum: “Daddy gave him to me” (such a poor reply, I know! Slap!)
(Silence, and a minute of thinking)
Son: “But how, how did he come inside your stomach”
Son: “Mum, is there a hole in your stomach?
Mum: “Yes, that’s right, there is a hole, he came in through the hole”
Son: “How did he come out? Did he grow big like a superhero and PUSH himself out!?
Mum: “Yes, that’s pretty much what happened, baby!”
Son: “That must have hurt”
(Mum thinking – no shit, Sherlock :))
Radio back on.
I am sure every Mum and Dad out there have had these interesting conversations with their children, where they have to tread carefully, but speak truthfully. Otherwise these little Einsteins will catch us out and won’t settle until we explain how things really are.
This is our time, however, to equip our children with the right frame of mind, a truthful and real version of life and all that in encompasses. Perhaps we should try not to sugar-cote everything, and wrap it into little digestible munches, in order for them to gulp them down, so we can move on with our day to day. We should rather approach them with real words, real explanations and take the opportunity while its still there, because soon, before we know it, media, films, music, other people and the rest of the world will have a great impact on their perception of life and from there on the rest is history..