“Today I learned about the birds and the bees!!” M beamed proudly. My husband shot me a look from the driver’s seat and we both stifled a little chuckle. Having taught the three-year-old sunday school class at church myself, I knew nothing in the curriculum would lead to such a discussion. “Oh really?” I asked. “Tell us about it.” His enthusiasm filled the car as he showed us a bird puppet he’d made and a jar covered in stickers of bugs for catching insects. Out of curiosity I looked up the title of the lesson when we got home. “I Am Thankful For Birds and Insects.” Nothing too risqué about that!
In my boys’ little world, a crazy night party involves mom and dad staying up late watching the old James Bond and snacking on fruity pebbles. Maybe chocolatey swirl peanut butter ice cream. That is, of course, after dishes are done, table’s washed and chickens are safely tucked in their coop for the night. They’re pretty convinced that the vilest, meanest person living has a hook and takes residence on a ship in Neverland, and the only difference between boys and girls is (very generally speaking) that girls sing Frozen ALL the time and tend to choose the color pink over blue.
I know, I know. I can’t shelter them forever. But now? Really?? Sometimes the world seems to be rushing them into an adult life. Things that are totally inappropriate for them at such an innocent age. The birds and the bees are attacking, buzzing in their ears, pecking at them every chance they get. It’s thrown in their face at the grocery store, on billboards, on the TV, and at school (tabloids, maybe? Carl’s Jr commercials perhaps??). Even I, as an adult, often find it disgusting and degrading. A friend was telling me recently about the experience she’d have every day as she picked her daughter up from kindergarden. Teenagers who had just been let off the bus from the high school would rather conspicuously “make out” just a few feet away. Plain sight for all the little girls and boys (not to mention all their younger siblings) to witness. Boys and girls, girls and girls, all exposing young minds to something they aren’t emotionally or mentally ready for. In case we forget, “kindergardener” means kids who have only been on this earth five or six years. Children who still sleep with teddy bears and watch Sesame Street, pretend to be doggies and dinosaurs, and read picture books.
Of course the day will come when we will have to sit down and have a chat. I know they will hear things at school, see things at the store, and question what the song is really trying to say. I just hope they can be kids for a while longer. I hope they can rise above the crowd and know when to back out of a conversation. I hope they can stand up when no one else is standing. Some things are meant to wait. Let them be kids…believe in the unbelievable, run around with a cape, dig in the dirt with miniature tractors, and eat Mac and cheese. Someday the time will be right. They will need to know about those adult topics. But let’s not rush it. I am convinced exposure to such things at such a young and vulnerable age can bring absolutely nothing good.
For now let’s let birds be birds and bees be bees. Let them fill their imagination with pirates and fairies, not lustful, provocative pictures. It’s a harsh, scary world out there. We have to prepare them for it, but we don’t have to throw them to the wolves. Let’s enjoy their innocence and help them navigate the bombardment that is bound to come. Then maybe, as we work together and help our kids through, they can develop healthy habits, strong values, and a better idea of what “the birds and the bees” is all about.
Nice! Thanks for sharing this and bringing a smile to my face.
Thank you for reading! Glad I could make you smile. I feel flattered that someone with so much insight and “popularity” ( for lack of a better word) would take the time to read my post. I so enjoyed reading a few of yours and look forward to reading more!
My pleasure, cc. I’m fairly selective with blogs I choose to follow. There are so many that could easily draw us in. Having read a couple of your posts, I sensed and appreciated your genuineness. Thus the follow. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words about the messages I choose to share. Knowing some of them resonate with readers is what keeps me posting. Thanks for creating time to share your thoughts.
Yes, this is a battle I have fought from Day 1 with my boys. There is time enough for the rest, let’s IMAGINE for now and just enjoy.
My oldest just started first grade last week, and I’m realizing what a big, exposed world it is out there. I hope he doesn’t loose that innocence and imagination for a while longer! Sometimes I wonder how parents before us did it! What’s your secret in raising good, grounded boys?
Hah. Parents before us didn’t have nearly so much media to contend with. Even transportation was more limited so the exposures we had as kids just wasn’t the same. As for my secret. Hah. I have no idea what I’m doing! I think we just lucked out on the kid front. First time, I felt we were great parents and really had it all figured out. A dozen years later, my second son disproved me of that notion immediately! But you know, we love them and we give them the best we have to give and the rest I think is just down to who they are inside. For sure, the one thing I’ve learned is that when they’re young I can introduce them to new ideas and concepts and I did as much of that as possible, but in the end, I’m on there to add to their trip down life’s road and not to control it. I didn’t see that the first time around. I think I spent too many years with him trying to reabsorb every lovely little morsel of him all the way through. You can even see it in the pictures I took….every single shot is just right up in his face…no background, no other people, just MY BOY and his perfect little self. Our second son wasn’t like that. There was more “space” almost from the beginning. But you know, much to my surprise, the view this time through has been even better than the intensity I had the first time. I get a much more complete picture from the stands than I did on the stage, you know? Don’t know that that gives you anything or not, but it was nice to go over all that in my own head again anyway.
You sound like you a wonderful life. The way you talk about it is heartwarming. And I love your idea of a wild party! It’s much wilder than things get around here!
I was just thinking of all this today. In fact just an hour ago I finally told my son about the “P” word after he had failed to aim into the toilet bowl. And the fact that they see a lot and hear a lot at school makes me wonder if having the little one around the older ones is a good idea. We haven’t seen kissing and I guess that’s because Singapore is more conservative that way (I think), but I do hear cursing all the time. And it makes me mad. I don’t want my son to be exposed to that kind of talk. It’s unnecessary and it’s wrong. And I find it surprising that the kids who are doing the cursing don’t feel anything when they do it in front of 3-4-5 year olds.
The cursing drives me crazy too! It’s like the kids don’t even notice or have no respect at all. I’m so curious to hear more about Singapore! Everything I’ve read and heard is that it’s a really neat place. I’m so glad I now have you as a reference!!
Ha! Our “wild parties” are few and far between. And lots of the time I fall asleep halfway through the movie. Guess that’s what those little guys do to you! And little boys and toilets…I can feel your pain!
I enjoyed your thoughts! Oh the beauty of kids running around with their imaginations and dreaming up pretend worlds. I agree that I wish it could last longer than it does. I feel like it is getting harder to raise a well adjusted child, in terms of the real purpose of intimacy. It is a beautiful and wonderful thing, and I want my kids to see the good. More importantly, I want my children to learn about it at home, from me. It is hard to know how much to say and when.
I agree, it’s so hard to know how much to say and when. Sometimes things seem so different compared to when we were kids… I too want my kids to learn things at home before they get a warped idea from peers or media. And I hope I can always have an open dialogue with them when they hear or see something questionable. I guess for now we just enjoy their innocence and encourage their imaginations, then pray we have the inspiration that we will know what to say when the time is right!
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