My oldest son is quickly turning into a mindful young boy. He is a thinker, and often tells me that he can’t sleep because he just can’t turn his brain off. I know what he means. He asks a lot of “what ifs,” and I’ll be honest, that can get tiring. “What if the house catches on fire?” or “what if someone eats yellow snow?” I know how is brain is working, because mine does the same thing–map out every possible scenario and outcome, and set up contingencies so you are always prepared. My hope is to give this boy some tools to help him deal with these thoughts and relax in a way that I’m just beginning to figure out.
I mentioned in ‘Giving Trees’ that Jacob had a lot of questions about people who don’t get presents. It broke my heart to see him realize that life is unfair and difficult. In my dream world, filled with rainbows and woodsprites and unicorns, my kids would be blissfully unaware of this reality forever. Rather, that the reality wasn’t the way it is. Can’t do anything about either of those, and I suppose it’s better that I can’t. After learning about kids getting no presents, he asked if there were people who didn’t have food. I had to tell him yes. “But don’t they get hungry?” Knife–heart–ow. And more questions followed that would break his heart, thus mine also. I told him the best thing we can do is to help when we can. If we see a need, and we can fulfill it, then we should.
Moving on to our discussions of bad guys (this is from the part of me wishing he were blissfully unaware). He has had a lot of questions about bad guys lately. Like why do people steal things, or hurt people. “They shouldn’t do that!” These questions have turned into “why do they do this?” The best answer I have (other than I don’t know) is to say there is a dark force that causes people to make bad decisions. “I don’t like that. God made everything, so God made those people, so God made those people make bad decisions. Why did He do that?” Then I had to explain that God didn’t make them do that. That was a toughy. I said God made those people, but He didn’t make them do bad things. The discussion turned somewhere I didn’t think it would go….he asked, “What if there was a burglar, and he was a bad guy, but he was poor and hungry and didn’t have any food?” (Wow). Before I could answer, he said “We should give him food. I know he’s bad, but it’s not good to be hungry. We should help him, because if we can help him we should help him.”
Josh, I think we’re doing something right as parents.