It seems like my biggest concern as a kid was whose mom was supplying the snack for the day. There were 6-9 of us on the street at any given time playing cops and robbers with the mailboxes, tackle football across three front yards, basketball in the driveway, putting Dawn on the Slip and Slide, or walking to the Speedy Pantry for candy cigarettes and a soda.
The slogan was KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.
Every family on our street had a mom a dad and one or two kids living under a single roof. I played sports with the boys and never even considered them anything other than brothers. None of us drank, did drugs, or stole. We just had fun… all day every day.
But in the last three months, I’ve been reminded about how much more complicated my kids’ lives are as I’ve been bombarded with questions including:
- What is divorce?
- What does it mean to be sexy?
- What is a lesbian?
- Why do people not like other people just because they are brown?
I don’t flinch at the questions. My approach is to ask what they’ve heard so I know how to start and so my brain can have a moment to formulate an age-appropriate response. Then I give enough information to satisfy them for the short term. I’ll purposefully give a little bit more information for the next few weeks rather that saturating them all at one time.
I know a lot of people will say that it is because I was sheltered in East Texas, but I think this is more of a sign of the times than a location.
Keep It Simple Stupid no longer applies. While I am glad that I am comfortable tackling the subjects as they arise, I wish they didn’t come up this early. At 4, 6, and 8 years old, I wish my kids’ biggest questions were whether three chocolate chip cookies were too many in one afternoon. As much as I am glad we have overcome some of the “isms” of the past, I do wish we could have kept some of the innocence.