Friday, October 05, 2007

Preventative lunch

They have this website where you can put money into an account and your kid can use it towards school lunch. And Arthur wanted me to sign up. And I said "I want you packing your own lunch." And he said "I will, this is just in case."

And I opened my mouth to say something and then stopped, and he said "What?" And I said "I was about to say that I didn't want to put money in this, because it might encourage you to blow off packing lunch. But that's kind of like not giving kids condoms because it might encourage them to have promiscuous sex, right?"


So I set up Arthur's account.

But it got me thinking about the no-condoms, no-sex ed, no-HPV vaccine crowd. When you're a parent, you grow a lot of "no" under your skin. You say it a lot. You want to say it a lot, because pretty quickly you learn how much there is that needs restricting, and how enormous a child's capacity for stupid is. And yes, you want to say "yes" a lot too. But I want to acknowledge the tightness in the heart, the "I can't allow that" feeling. Which is sometimes protective, and sometimes (as in the case of lunch money) "Don't fuck with me, kid."

What we parents struggle with is the knowledge that kids won't always listen to "no," and won't always do what they're told, and will sometimes make mistakes, and will sometimes get in trouble that is in no way their own fault. These are all truths that a parent might suffer over, but once we acknowledge these truths, we can move on to the understanding that we want to protect our kids anyway.

(Preventate cross-post)