September 26, 2012

Differences


I was driving with Sammi one day last summer.

Sammi (out of the blue):  "Daddy, what's 'gay'?"

Me (taken aback):  "Uh... What???"

Sammi:  "What does 'gay' mean?"

Me:  "Why do you ask sweetie?"

Sammi:  "Sometimes I hear kids say it like - 'You're so gay', or 'That's so gay'.  I just wanted to know what it means."

Me (unsure of what exactly to say):  "Well...  When they say it like that, it's not very nice."

Sammi:  "Why?  What does it mean?"

I hadn't planned on having a conversation this deep with my seven year old daughter in the car that day, but I've also never been shy about talking to my kids about anything.  Over the years, some of the best one-on-one conversations I've had with my kids happened in our car.  So I dove in.

Me:  "So you know how a lot of men are attracted to and fall in love with women, and a lot of women are attracted to and fall in love with men?"

Sammi:  "Yeah."

Me:  "Well gay people are attracted to and fall in love with members of the same sex as them."

Sammi:  "So the boys fall in love with boys and the girls fall in love with girls?"

Me:  "Yes."

Sammi:  "So gay people just fall in love differently than you and me - right?"

Me:  "That's it."

Sammi:  "So what’s the big deal? Why do some people call others gay like it's a bad word?"

Me:  "Some people really don't like others who are different from them, so they say or do mean things to them."

Sammi (getting mad):  "So they are mean to them just because they love differently?!?"

Me:  "Unfortunately."

Sammi:  "That's stupid!  Everybody is different.  There are all kinds of different people in the world."

Me:  "You're right."

Sammi (cutting me off):  "Some are short and some are tall..."

Me:  "I know."

Sammi (still going):  "Some have different religions.  Some need wheelchairs…"

Me:  "Right."

Sammi (not to be silenced):  "Some people are different colors, some are skinny and some are fat..."

Me:  "Okay.  I get it Honey."

Sammi:  "If people were all exactly the same, then the world would be boring! We'd all be like robots or something."

Me:  "That's why we need to stand up to people that we see making fun of or hurting others because of their differences."

Sammi sat there in silence for a few minutes.  I could see her face in the mirror and it was obvious that she was thinking about some pretty big issues.  I resisted the urge to keep speaking - I wanted her to connect the dots and think on her own. 

Sammi (finally looking back up at me):  "You know what Daddy?  It makes me mad that people act mean to others - but we shouldn't hate them.  You know why?"

Me:  "Why?"

Sammi (smiling):  "Because then we would be just like them."

I smiled back into the rear-view mirror at my wise little philosopher.  

I think that this world would be a much better place if people could just drop all their social/political/religious/cultural baggage and try to see life through the eyes of a child.  It makes life a lot less complicated.


My smart girl...




September 13, 2012

School Lunch


I recently had a lunch date with Sammi at her school. I sat with her class in the school cafeteria.  As soon as I sat down, I was immediately surrounded by millions of 2nd graders all talking to me a mile a minute:

"I love all those pictures you draw on Sammi's lunch bags every day. Can you draw a picture of SpongeBob for me?"

"You look old. What are you - 100?"

"You look like a teacher, but you're really silly."

"Do you think you could beat up a tiger?"

"Put your veggie-straws in your nose so you'll look like you have tusks."

My responses to the kids (in order):

"Sure."

"Watch it kid!"

"I know you are, but what am I?"

"Of course. Duh."

"Okay, but I won't eat them afterwards."

Sammi stayed pretty quiet during lunch; she just sat there eating her lunch, watching my shenanigans - smiling.

When it came time for all the kids to clean up and get ready to go outside for recess, Sammi hugged me really tight and said, "Thank you Daddy!"

Me:  "For what?  Eating lunch and acting silly?  I do that every day."

Sammi:  "No.  Thank you for being the most awesome daddy ever.  If you were a kid, you'd be the coolest kid in school."

Me (putting both thumbs up):  "I'm the coolest kid in school!  I'm cool like Fonzie!  Aaayyy!"

Sammi (rolling her eyes at me and smiling):  "Don't ruin it old man."


This blog is Fonzie Approved.





September 7, 2012

Justin Bieber

After picking Sammi up a while back from a sleepover with several of her friends:

Me:  "So, how was your sleepover?"

Sammi:  "It was AWESOME!  We camped in the backyard, stayed up late and told scary stories, ate a lot of snacks and listened to music - but guess what?"

Me:  "What?"

Sammi:  "All the other girls just wanted to listen to Justin Bieber."

Me:  "I guess that makes sense, he is pretty popular with little girls..."

Sammi:  "But I HATE Justin Bieber!"

Me:  "Yeah I know that, but..."

Sammi (cutting me off):  "I asked them if they could play some Bob Marley, the Beatles or even Queen - but they didn't even know who I was talking about! Can you believe that?"

Me (in mock outrage):  "Wow, you're right!  I can't believe that a bunch of six and seven year old girls would rather listen to Justin Bieber than to some dead singers from a long time ago..."

Sammi:  "But Dad - who doesn't know who Bob Marley is?!?  Buffalo Soldier?  Three Little Birds?  C'mon, seriously?"

Me:  "Well Sweetie, I think the reason you listen to and like the music you do, is because that's what Daddy listens to and likes.  It's what you've been exposed to.  Does that make sense?"

Sammi (still shaking her head):  "Yeah I guess...  I still had a really fun time at the sleepover though."

Me:  "Great!"

Sammi:  "But I will never agree that Justin Bieber is a good singer. Ever."

Me:  "Me either honey.  Me either."




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