And now for your reading pleasure allow me to share with you some of the conversations my son and I had this week. We'll start with the serious one.
Son: Dad, what happens if I get tooken?Playing on iTunes: Concrete Blonde: Joey
Dad: What do you mean by tooken?
Son: Bad guys might steal me and then I'll get tooken.
Me: No one is going to take you.
Son: But what if they did.
Me: Your mother and I will never let that happen. If anyone tried to take you I'd hurt them. I'd punch them in the nose, kick them in the butt and throw them down the stairs.
Son: But then you'll go to jail.
Me: That wouldn't happen. The police know that I am a good guy.
I don't like lying to my children. I try to make a practice of never doing it, but there are some things that they do not need to know or at least worry about. I don't want him to ever worry about me going to jail, at least not for something like this.
Now you and I both know that life in the real world can be complicated. G-d forbid I ever face this situation. Who knows what could happen. Thankfully the odds are against this which is part of why I was willing to lie to him, or at least stretch the truth. No need for him to worry about me going to jail.
The issue here that troubles me most is the loss of innocence. I am sad that he has to worry about bad people. It hurts me to scare him, but I need for him to have a little fear of strangers. He needs to think about who he encounters. He needs to know that not everyone is nice. It is a terrible thing and very challenging.
It is hard to maintain a balance. I don't want him to be afraid of everyone. He shouldn't fear everyone, the world is full of good people. But at the same time...
Ok, on to the next conversation. The setting for this is the mall.
Playing on iTunes: Clint Mansell: Lux Aeterna
Son: Dad, Santa Claus is fake. Right?Moments later we pass the North Pole section of the mall. As we wander by the friendly elf asks the little boy if he wants to sit on Santa's lap and take a picture.
Me: Yes. he is fake.
Son: That means that Xmas is fake too.
Me: It is not something that we believe in.
Son: They are lying to us. They lied about Santa Claus and they are lying about Xmas. It is all fake.
Me: People are entitled to believe what they want. You don't have to agree with it.
Son: So it is ok to lie?
Me: No, it is not.
Son: But why did you say it is ok for them.
Me: How would you feel if someone said that Chanukah was fake.
Son: I'd be so angry.
Me: Well they might get angry if they heard you say Santa was fake.
Son: Ok, I won't say anything.
Me: That is a good idea. We can keep this to ourselves.
"My daddy says that I am not supposed to tell you that Santa is fake and that you are all lying."
And that led to yet another conversation. I'll save that for a different day.