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Trying to explain the world to my son

2013-03-15_15-55-45_618 (1)aMy son is nearly 2 (and a half) years old. I know, in the next few years, I will need to answer some tough and not-so-tough questions that he will have. Questions like:

  • “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

  1. I am a dork who worries way too much, and …
  2. 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,  

” Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and hopes for your son!! The pictures are great too!! We also pray for hims future and hope.

    For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
    Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

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