Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Innocence

Peony 'Amalia Olson,' a gorgeous creamy white double flower.

Have you ever played that game with the paper folded into quadrants, like four pyramids that meet to make one large one?  Where each flap has a number or name or question on it?  You manipulate it with your fingers as your friends choose numbers or options to arrive at the answer to a question.  (I can't remember what those are called - if you remember, please tell me, or I'll wake up at 3AM thinking about it. . . .)  Anyhow, our daughter came home from school recently talking about doing that with a friend.  The four choices of action her friend gave her were, "Hug, Kiss, Kill or Make Out."  She's in third grade - where do third graders learn about making out?  I know, it's a silly little thing, but I was sad to have to explain to our daughter that "making out" is physical affection that leads up to sex, and that it really is not appropriate for her to talk about as a third grader, let alone play at choosing who she'd like to kill as part of a game.

Maybe our kids are a bit sheltered.  I can take that criticism; there's some truth to it.  But I'd rather shelter them moderately now and explain things to them as they mature and need the information.  Corrie Ten Boom, in her book The Hiding Place, had a lovely illustration of that parental responsibility.  While a young girl, she asked her father a difficult question about a grown-up topic.  They were walking, her father carrying a large suitcase.  He thought for a moment, then handed her the suitcase.  It was very difficult for her to carry, and after a few steps he took it back from her.  He explained that the answer to her question was like that suitcase:  too heavy for her to carry at her age, and that she would learn the answer when she was older and ready to carry the burden.  What a wise father!  I think that so often we burden our children with adult cares far too early in their lives.  Let them be children.  Adulthood lasts a very long time.

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