- “Dada, why is the sky blue?”
- “Dada, why can’t I have ice cream before bed?”
- “Dada, why do my brother and me have different last names?”
- “Dada, why are some people mean to other people?”
- “Dada, why do people die?” and (of course)
- “Dada, why can’t T-Rex beat Optimus Prime?”
These are just some of what he may/will ask me, so how do I answer him?
The easy questions are: “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why no ice cream before bed?” Those, I’m sure I have got covered–with relative ease. But, what about the tough questions? How do I handle those?
Yea, I have a few years, (maybe) to think about them, so why think about it now?
Well, for me it is a 2-fold problem, as
- I am a dork who worries way too much, and …
- My answer may change by the time he asks me, if I don’t think about it now.
I have learned that time changes us–changes our view on some things, as we may become more callused and hard, or softer and flexible on certain things. I have also learned that some answers deserve to be pondered and should be well thought-out, with much weighting-in of all the information, looking at it from both sides of the debate.
In my youth, I would just rush headlong into something–without thinking, just rushing in where angels feared to tread. I am reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “There is another old poet whose name I do not now remember who said, ‘Truth is the daughter of Time.’ ”
The world is a tough place, a scary place–full of bad people. It’s a place that holds onto ideals and thinking that are better left in the past.
It is also a place quite the opposite of all that–full of good people, who are capable of great things.
I am about to go all geek-tastic, but I would love for son to live in a future like the Star-Trek Universe, where there is no hunger and no greed, where the color of one’s skin or who you love makes no difference. I know that is pie-in-the-sky thinking, but, like most parents, I want my child to live in a better place than I did. I want him to be shielded from what the “real world” is.
I want to teach my son that change can come–be it one small, step at a time. Maybe what I should tell my son is to remember this speech from November 19, 1863,
By telling him where we came from, I hope to show him where we should be headed. Taking those small steps–to a better tomorrow, where my pie-in-the-sky dreams are not so-crazy, after-all.
I am not afraid of explaining the world to my son–I am afraid of what I see in that world. My hope is when he has to have those talks with his children, he won’t be afraid of the world he sees.