As my six year old son and I were told less than a week ago that we would be going to live in a hospital 3,500 km away for a few months, I have been mentally bracing myself for some difficult questions he may or may not ask. Having said that, I wasn’t ready for this one.
We had just left our local hospital after doing some testing and were driving home. Here’s how the conversation went:
Ben: What is the name of that place we are going next?
Me: (distractedly) Ummm…McDonalds – you said you wanted a cheeseburger.
Ben: No – after that.
Me: I don’t know…gas station?
Ben: No – the place where they are going to try to fix my neck.
Me: That would be Montreal
Ben: That’s it. Can I say bad words there?
Me: (nonverbally – WTF!!!) (verbally) Ummmmm….no – same rules as here.
An awkward silence fills the car. Finally curiosity gets the better of me.
Me: Ummmmm…what words were you thinking of saying?
Ben: I can’t tell you; you’ll give me trouble.
Me: Yeah…you’re probably right.
Another few minutes passes. I can’t handle it anymore.
Me: Ok – I will grant you 10 second immunity where you can say whatever bad words you were thinking about saying in Montreal, and I won’t give you trouble – this is a one time only deal. So what were you thinking?
Ben: I was thinking I might like to say shut up.
Me: (non-verbally – laughing) (verbally) Ya know, that’s not a nice thing to say.
Ben: I was just wondering if it’s allowed there.
Me: No, it’s not – same rules as at home.
I enjoyed this conversation with Ben, but it got me thinking. I think it is a struggle for parents is to remain consistent with their children through more difficult times. It doesn’t matter if it is illness, surgery, divorce, the temptation is always there to bend the rules a bit – I know it is for us! There are times when Ben is at a store saying how much he wants a toy. Jesse and I joke – c’mon – the kids has a crooked neck – just buy him the damn thing. However, we are not raising a child for a short amount of time – this is not a fad diet – I am hoping to raise a really great human being who has something awesome to contribute to this world. So, sometimes we have to throw temptation behind us and not let him say “bad words” or get everything he wants. Our overall goal is beyond this event in his life. Having said that, I do have to admit that it is easier said than done!