While looking through some old magazines, my son said something that gave me pause.
So, it’s 2017. New year. New me. New us. New…bah! I’m not one for resolutions. But, I am okay with change.
And this year we are doing a PURGE! Yep, we’re going through and clearing out useless stuff that we just don’t need anymore. After our run-through yesterday my wife and I managed to gather up 4 bags of clothes to donate. It felt good clearing stuff out. Anyhoo, while I was cleaning I came across a magazine holder that’s been on top of my book case for years. I put them up high way back when because my oldest had a thing about ripping the pages out of things. The magazine holder held one year’s worth of National Geographic magazines. They were covered with dust from disuse and I was about to toss them out when I asked the boys if they’d like them.
“Are they real life information, daddy?”
My youngest is totally into non-fiction. And quite frankly, I like his description better. Yes, son, they are real life information books. I dusted them off and we just skimmed through them. Occasionally, they would find a picture interesting and comment on it. But largely, it was just to show them what sorts of things they could find inside each magazine.
Then, we hit one picture. It was of a man in one of the secluded tribes in the Amazon. He had a nose piercing, several lip piercings…and was mostly naked. My son asked about him. So we talked about how these people live in the jungle and have no real connection to modern technology.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could ship them a bunch of clothes?”
“Not really, son. They have clothes already.”
“No, I mean so that they could dress like us and then they could look like us!”
He was genuinely concerned that these people weren’t fully clothed like us. Then, we had to have a talk about how it’s okay for people to look different than us. If fact, it’s not only okay, it’s preferred! We talked about how people dress for different climates and weather. We talked about how someone from the tropics would die in the Arctic if they weren’t dressed properly, and vice versa.
But, the biggest takeaway I wanted him to have was that people all look different, and that’s alright. We don’t need to impose our sensibilities on other peoples. I’m not entirely sure how much of it he really got, because shortly after that, he grabbed one with a T-Rex skeleton on the front and yelled about DINOSAURS!
So, I guess we’ll wait and see. You know, as with most things parenting based. Playing the long game.