Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gimmie Some Truth...When I'm Older

Have you heard that there are two kinds of parents in the world? Apparently, there are the ones who shelter their kids from the horrors of the world as long as they can and then there are the ones aren’t so concerned about boundaries. I don’t completely buy the idea – about there being two kinds of parents, I mean. It brings to mind another saying about there being two kinds of people – those who believe that there are two kinds of people and those who don’t. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’ll tell my child and what I won’t – what I’ll let them do and what I won’t. For now, I’m planning to take things on a case by case basis. If this baby came along 10 years ago, I would have been all for revealing the truths of the world to them as soon as possible. At the time, I was enamored of a famous quote that went, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” It seemed so simple and straightforward, it just had to be right. It is, I suppose, but once I became a teacher, my viewpoint changed. I’m not sure how much truth a seven year old needs to hear, at least when it comes to the world beyond our backyard. I’m always telling people that I never realized how sheltered I was until I went back to school to be a teacher, and I’m grateful my parents sheltered me. It gave me the chance to be a kid, and I wouldn’t trade that for truth.

16 days until baby.


  1. Bill, in my humble opinion, you turned out great. This is from another sheltered kid who didn't learn until much later HOW sheltered. I think boundaries are great and they are blissfully muteable.
    I am so happy for you two. I had no idea how much fun it was going to be. :-)

  2. I don't even know what I want to write; I just know that I do. I, too, have always been a big truth person- you know the science type, "let me figure out the world and all the answers". Definitely the older I become, the more I realize that love trumps truth, and one might even argue that love is the only truth.

    Anyway, a favorite quote from the movie 'Chocolat' pointed out to me the ambiguity of truth and the importance of trusting our and others' thoughts and feelings - "If you believe it, then it must be true."

    (Of course, the ambiguity of truth is pointed out to me everyday as I sort through the "he said/she said" of kindergartners' perceptions! You've seen me in deep discussions in the hallway!) :)

  3. I agree with you too, Bill. Apologies if I've already written this, but I do believe that a large part of parenting is what we choose to protect our children from. And even within popular culture, it is not difficult to make different choices than what this consumer society would have us choose...children do not suffer because of it, rather, they grow as young people seeing the good and beauty of the world. That's a foundation worth protecting. You've sure got a bunch of us thinking here...gratitude to you! A.

  4. shelter them as long as you can, because the real world comes along all too soon. Those years when they are home with you before school starts are the most precious. They will let you know what they need.

  5. I think "trust" is the issue here. Young children need to know that their parents will protect/shelter them until they are old enough to handle the negatives of life.
    You will know what is age-appropriate for your child. You will not burden them with more than they can handle, and you will support them through unavoidable bad situations, if necessary.
    I can say, "Always give me the truth, the whole truth," but I am old enough to make that choice. Even now, it's still a matter of trust.

  6. Caryn - thanks - I think you turned out great, too, and I have to agree - boundaries are muteable.

    Amy BG - I definitely think you're right about love trumping truth. It seems like the older I get, truth gets more ambiguous, but the things I feel seem less so.

    Amy LV - I don't know if you said it before here, but what you said about sheltering came out during our workshop over the summer, and it's stayed with me since. It was when I realized my opinions about kids and truth had changed. Thanks for getting me thinking.

    Jane - I will try to shelter them - I just wish Linda and I could both stay home with thetm all day long until their first day of kindergarten.

    Anne - Trust will be a big deal for us - it's just going to take some getting used to - being the one who supposedly "knows what's best." Do you ever get to the point where you're completely confident?