Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Passing on values at bedtime.

Each night when I put T to bed he asks for a story. I use this time to convey my values to my little man.
Many nights we pick a profession where he can help humans or animals. For instance he will accompany Steve the crocodile hunter on a mission to save injured crocodiles in the outback. He rescues crocodiles from trees and fixes there cavities while Steve holds their mouths open.
Other nights T will drink a potion that he invented and turn himself into a dinosaur or some other creature. The creature will help mankind in someway. When he is a Brontosaurus, he can give children rides at the park. When he is a dragon he can help me burn stumps out of the backyard. T is always having fun and helping out.
Last night was one of our best. He said he wanted to be himself in this story. I told him that he could cook a meal for the Monday night supper for the homeless at our church.
"What do you want to cook T?"
T thought long and hard for 30 seconds. I waited patiently for his response, doing all that I could not to lead him.
Finally T decided: "Gingerbread cookies."
"Great! I am sure that they will love them."
"What ingredients do we need and how do we make them?" I asked.
"We need eggs, flour, sugar, milk and a great big bowl! And then we stir it!" T replied enthusiastically.
"Perfect. What should we use for eyes?"
"Chocolate chips." Replied T.
L was listening patiently and keeping quiet during T's story. Then she piped in:
"Dad, this is like when we made the grilled cheese sandwiches for the youth group lunch at church!"
"Exactly!" I exclaimed.
"And did those kids appear happy when they received their sandwiches?"
L paused. "Yes, they looked very happy."
"I think the hungry people at our church will feel just as happy to eat T's cookies."
"Yeah." replied T. "Now can I have a dinosaur story?"

It is tempting to give T exactly what he asks for each night. Stories filled with action and gore that scare the pajamas off of him. Instead I try to fill the stories with values like hard work, enjoying your work, and helping make the world a better place. I try to keep away from stories with villains and heros who overcome treachery. I hope T will build a world full of cooperation and win-win scenarios instead of win-lose. Especially when the winner needs to resort to violence to get the job done. Can you see where I stand on the Disney films?


Mignon Chang said...

I like how you try to teach your children morals in bedtime stories. My father and me alternatively attempt to do this for my brother.

DaveFlynn said...

Thanks for visiting. Your brother sounds like a lucky kid.