"Hey be careful with that toe of yours," I said to my 10-year-old son as he attempted to cut his toenail with what appeared to be medieval pinking shears, "I grew it for you, after all", I said. He looked over at me and said "Really? All you did was eat," and then added "That's not so hard."
Restraining myself from launching into the indignities which the gestating body of a woman goes through to produce an ungrateful rat like him, instead I nodded and said "I guess you're right." Why would I want to tell him anything else? He was in Grade Five, and the lessons on the birds and bees were rapidly coming down the curriculum, headed straight for him. I decided to let him wallow in his lack of knowledge a tiny bit longer. Ignorance, my friends, can be bliss. But is there any such thing any more?
Every time a breaking news story erupts over social media or the more traditional 24-hour television news channels, by the time it hits the morning newspaper or breakfast shows, the next segment is inevitably "How do you talk to your kids about (fill in blank with breaking news story)?" While I believe it is important to keep our kids somewhat up to date with current affairs, do they really need to know and digest every piece of bad information that hits the ever expanding radar?
When I was a kid you got news twice a day. Once in the morning paper, and then at 10 at night on the national television station, delivered by a white male anchor in orange make up. Oh, did I mention that the audience for this news was 0 per cent children? I wasn't even allowed to stay up until 10 at night, let alone touch the morning newspaper unless it was a Saturday and I was sneaking the colour comics out of it. The news was for grown-ups. They worried about what was going on in the world...sort of so we didn't have to.
Today, because our children are so connected in so many ways with the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, streaming television, texts from friends, we presume they are getting the news all the time, and consequently we should act as a counsellor to them in how they should digest this news. But here's the thing: what we think is BIG news, they really don't.
When you're a kid, what's important to you is totally different than what's important to an adult. If kids wrote the news, their headlines would include things like:
• Mom admits younger brother is her favourite. Has been for some time.
• Spoiler alert: Meatloaf comes from meat. Which comes from cows.
• Suspicious hand-writing on Christmas gift alludes to co-conspirators in Santagate
• New study shows that no parent has ever offered a child a spoonful of sugar, no matter how nasty tasting the medicine going down was.
• Halloween candy disintegrates after 30 days? Not so, in a shocking discovery. Film at 11.
I grew up in Winnipeg, and a local station used to announce, just prior to the news, "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" I say, better yet, "Do your children always need to know what you know?"
Read Funny Mummy every month. Kathy Buckworth's newest book, "I Am So The Boss Of You: an 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family The Business" will be released by McClelland Stewart (a Random House imprint) in March, 2013. It is available for pre-order now on Amazon.ca. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com
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