Friday, January 6, 2012

An innocent mind ...

As I made my usual post-Christmas returns the other day, I heard a song that I hadn't heard in years!  Cecilia ... not the Simon and Garfunkel version ... but the version by Times Two released in 1988.  My cousin (Joey) and I would belt out every word to this song while playing Barbie's in my Gram's bedroom.

As I strolled through Academy Sports with the she-monkey on my hip, I caught myself singing along with the lyrics and taking a trip down memory lane.

And the evolution of my thought process is as follows.

I loved singing this song with Joey ...  "I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed, someone's taken my place" 
We also loved the song "Sign Your Name" by Terrence Trent D'Arby ...  "Sign your name across my heart, I want you to be my lady ..." 

OH.EM.GEE!  How did Mama not intervene and keep me from listening to and singing this song about having S-E-X in the afternoon and a cheating girlfriend?!  Better yet, why, on God's green earth, did my super Catholic Gram not slap me and Joey across the face for belting out such indiscretions?!  

As a girl, the lyrics were just words. Nothing more. There were no racy thoughts going through my head.  It didn't turn my 8 year old body into a sin-machine.  I just enjoyed the melody, the singing and being silly with Joey.  And this had me thinking ...

Are the things which are considered "bad" influences really "bad" when viewed through innocent eyes and ears?

I see The Boy running through the house with his hockey stick pretending it's a gun.  He stops in front of Katie, points the "gun" towards her and screams "Bang!  Now Die Katie!".  Katie looks at him and giggles hysterically which causes Nathan to break out into laughter as well.

As much as Nathan's pretend disturbs me and creates irrational fears of him turning into a serial killer, it's innocent play to him.  Nathan doesn't know what death is.  In his mind, dying is temporary and the victim always comes back to life.

As a parent, it is my job to nurture, raise and teach my babies.

I have choices on how to respond to his pretend Katie killing:
  1. Freak out and yell "No! No! NO!  Nathan!  We do not shoot guns!  Guns are BAD!  Guns kill people!"
  2. Take this as an opportunity to sit down with Nathan and start teaching him the principles of gun safety and educate him that guns are very serious and should be treated with respect.
  3. Run into the room with a bottle of ketchup and help he and Katie act out a super dramatic, ever-so-bloody death scene that would rival Scarface (the movie).
  4. Ignore his actions.  
My instinct is to yell "NO!" but that only teaches him that what he's doing is wrong.  But, in his mind, it's not wrong.  How can I scold him for being ignorant and not knowing?

So I move on to option 2.  During some quiet time, Shaun and I explain to Nathan (in 3 year old terms) that it is fun to pretend, but real guns are only for adults and are used to protect people ... that's why soldiers and police men have guns.

As he gets older, I will foster his creative spirit as much as possible so that is when I will allow the ketchup to be used as a prop!  (only after they are stripped down to undies and the living room is protected in plastic)

And ignoring him teaches him that I don't care ... which is worse than option 1!

So maybe maybe Mama and Gram weren't ignoring us after all.  Maybe they had the same views as I do and were merely letting me and Joey explore our vocal capabilities and creativity.  After all, Joey and I are both Grammy Award winning singers (in our own minds at least)!


Anonymous said...

Laughed so hard I PMP!!

Lady Blachly said...

Similar thoughts cross my mind often. I agree with you, but sometimes it's hard to know where to draw the if him and his friends are playing and I think one of them is truly being mean spirited about it, it gets tricky. Interesting topic!

Becky @ The Leverett Life said...

It definitely does get tricky Mrs. Blachly!! And it makes me slightly nervous about the future issues we will have to manage and handle. All we can do is what we feel is our best!

Aunt Vicki said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

I sang Cecelia ALL DAY LONG while cleaning a house. THANK GOODNESS the client wasn't home...I would have been soooo embarassed! And the TTDarby song was great! I can remember singing that out loud with the rest of the cousins in my mom's car. Thanks sooo much for the awesome memories.


P.S. I remember getting that was the same day we won an Oscar AND a gold medal at the Olympics for our syncronized swimming routine!