Don’t Eat That! It’s Poisonous!

“Don’t eat that! It’s poisonous,” I yelled across the playground.

“They aren’t poisonous,” the second-grade boy told me, “I eat them all the time. See,” and he popped a shelled acorn into his mouth.

I stood there. Mouth gaping. I looked at one of my coworkers, “My mother has lied to me all these years.”

Later that day I told my mom what happened. She, of course, found it hilarious, “You mean, you actually believed me?” she asked in between her chuckles and snorts.

“Of course, I believed you,” I replied. “You’re my mother. Mothers aren’t supposed to lie to their children. When your mom says acorns are poisonous, don’t eat them, of course you believe her! What else did you lie about?”

Still laughing, “Nothing. I swear.” There was a pause and a giggle, “Well, I may have told you mushrooms were roast beef your whole life.”

We do that don’t we? In good faith, we say things to our kids, hoping to point them away from dangerous stuff or convince them to branch out and try something new. I’m just as guilty. When my oldest started losing his baby teeth, I told him he had to try every food all over again because his new, grown-up teeth might like that food better than his baby teeth did. And it worked!

Sometimes it’s not real pretty, but all parents and grandparents do it. But as we warn them and guide them in the simple things, are we taking time to point out the real dangers?

Are we openly discussing the dangers of drugs and alcohol and modeling healthy moderation and sobriety ourselves?

Are we warning them about pornography and setting limits on their electronic devices, but also modeling appropriate behavior by what movies, shows, and websites we regularly visit?

Are we protecting them by setting curfews and paying attention to the friends they hang out with while being mindful of our own circle of friends and time management?

Are we choosing the words carefully that come out of our mouths or are we teaching them that filthy and degrading language is acceptable?

Are we showing them the truly poisonous things in life or are we expecting them to just figure it out as they go?

The things we learn in childhood go with us into adulthood; whether it’s good, bad, or debilitating. Let’s make the effort to guide our kids away from the truly poisonous things and choose the right, healthy ones.

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