When Ruth Fulton Benedict wrote that children are extensions of their guardian’s egos, I thought, how true, as children do mimic their teachers in life. If you ever want to know what habits or hang-ups you have as caretakers, watch your children. They not only emulate your behavior, but they also exemplify your attitude about people and things; with the exception being, children do it in an uninhibited, honest manner.
To give an example: One day when my six-year-old grand-daughter Daidre and a neighbor boy of the same age were sitting on the steps of my enclosed patio talking, I couldn’t help but over-hear their conversation.
“I have a pet frog; do you want to see it?” Jason asks.
“Not really,” Daidre replies in an uncaring attitude. “I don’t like frogs. But I like turtles. My grandma has one that lives in front of her house on the beach.”
“Kool… can we go see it?”
“No, ’cause my grandma is busy and we can’t go near the water alone.”
“Can’t you ask her if she will take us?”
“I’ll think about it,” she flippantly says.
Changing the subject, Jason again asks, “Hey, do you know any secrets — I do.”
“Sure I do,” Daidre snidely notes. “Lots of them, doesn’t everyone?”
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” Jason counters.
Daidre slides closer to Jason on the porch step and says, “When we have company coming to stay at our house, and my mom doesn’t really like them, she won’t change the sheets on the beds.”
Jason leans closer to Daidre and voices, “When my mom doesn’t want company, but they come anyway, she hides some of the good food in the house so the company will have to buy their own, or go to MacDonald’s.”
They both laugh, raise their hands and slap them together to give the “high sign –” a
signal meaning they have formed a common ground in their friendship.
“You want to know another secret?” Jason plies.
“Sure,” Daidre urges.
“Whenever mom wants my grandma to baby-sit us, she has my three year old brother get on the phone and say, ‘Gamma, I come a your house, pleasz?’ If my grandma says yes, that means she’s also babysitting me and my sister.”
Again they both giggle. When the giggling subsides, Jason boldly states, “Do you know what I’m going to be when I get big like my dad?”
Daidre gives Jason a quizzical look, and questioningly says, “A beer drinker?”
“Nooo, I’m going to be a bun man.”
“What’s a bun man?” Daidre inquires.
“I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with hot dogs and hamburgers. But it must be a fun job. Cuz when dad looks at mom he gets a happy smile on his face and says to her, ‘I love those buns’.”
Daidre gives Jason one of her rolled-eyed looks, and says, “That sounds like a strange thing to be. But I don’t care, cuz I’m going to be GOD.”
“Oh no!” Jason hastily insists. “You can’t be God. My Sunday school teacher said there’s only ONE God.”
“Hey! Daidre snaps back at him, “I can be God if I want to.”
“No you can’t!” he argues back.
“Listen, Jason,” Daidre says, clenching her fists. “If my friend Jack says he’s going to be Jesus Christ when he grows up, then I can be GOD… you hear me?”
Jason, seeing how adamant she is about this, and not wanting to argue any more, slides over to his end of the step, and quickly adds, “Alright, you can be God.”
After that confrontation they sit in silence for a moment, and then Daidre reaches into her pocket and offers Jason some candy. Jason takes the candy, pops it in his mouth, and slowly sidles back near Daidre on the step. After chewing his candy, Jason meekly asks, “Daidre, when you become God, can I become one of your angels?”