Dichotomy

Periodically, I have the kids attempt to copy some work of art. It’s a good exercise in attention to detail, as well as simply helping the kids remember artists and their works. So when I saw this post, and it just so happened that The Creation of Adam was in the art card set Billy was using (Step 5), it was natural for me to assign him that painting to copy.

Here is his result.

Katie also made her version, but I don’t know where it is offhand. Maybe another time I’ll post it. They’re both okay (better, probably, than I could do!).

Anyway, a neighbor girl is over here today, and Katie proudly displayed Billy’s drawing. It’s nice when the kids admire each other’s work, I think. Katie also filled in Neighbor Girl with all the facts about the painting that she knew (on a ceiling in some church somewhere, Adam being created by God, that Billy left out Eve and the angels around God, but that she included them in hers). Neighbor Girl’s comment?

“I think he should have put a fig leaf on him or something.”

Meanwhile, Peter, hovering nearby begins belting out his favorite beer drinking song. For the record, I am not proud that Peter knows any drinking songs, let alone has a repertoire. I’m even less happy that he prefers songs about beer to any other, and that he chooses to sing them loudly in public. But he’s three, and I keep hoping that if I just ignore him, he’ll quit on his own. Still hoping.

Neighbor Girl hears the boy’s song and makes a comment about its appropriateness.

Great, I think. Now I’ve got a 9 year old judging my mothering skills. What kind of a house are you running here, lady? Nudity…beer…just call Child Services on me already.

But what’s interesting to me is that this girl is the one who’s been telling my girls the “truth” about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. This girl, is in fact, so much more worldly than any of my children, that I closely monitor their interaction and have had a number of conversations about how not all families are alike. It’s a delicate situation, with no easy answers, when the only child in the neighborhood is not the best suited for your children.

It reminds me of something I read somewhere (but have forgotten where, so if you know please tell me), that says that to the innocent, all things are innocent, but to those who are not innocent, nothing is innocent. Although my five older children are aware that it is unacceptable, in general, to run around without clothes on, and are also aware, in general, that drunkenness is sinful, their knowledge of such matters is more “book knowledge” than experiential. Adam was naked in the Garden, so of course, he would be naked in his Creation. No big deal. And singing about drinking? It’s just something that grownups do. They’ve never seen anyone drunk, and certainly never seen the ramifications of alcoholism or binge drinking. Nakedness and drinking are innocent things to their innocent eyes.

But Neighbor Girl lives in the Real World where sex and drugs have such a grip that parents and teachers feel they need to teach children from a young age to avoid them. And there is no way to do that without educating them about what they are in the first place. Eat the apple so you have knowledge, so you know what you shouldn’t know, you know? I don’t blame the system. That stuff is out there, and I see why parents want to teach their children what to avoid.

It’s just sad that we have to destroy their innocence in order to protect it.
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9 thoughts on “Dichotomy

  1. I could not have said this any better – and I totally agree with you.

  2. Excellent post. It’s something I’ve struggled with. You’re 100% right.

  3. I thought along a similar vein yesterday when reading about what age to teach girls about puberty. Some were saying they told their children about women’s *^% when their children were 3-4 because they saw Mommy’s supplies in the bathroom or sat them down at age 9 and spelt it out. Sorry, I don’t want to tell them such things yet and hope that I have a few years left for them to be unaware of adult things. Luckily, by homeschooling and keeping them sheltered, I don’t have to worry about them having classmates that mature early, scare them about predators in the bathroom, or similar issues that ps kids have to be taught to be protected. Great art, by the way, I’m very impressed!

  4. I couldn’t agree more. We have some neighbor kids down the street that play with our kids, but we’ve been having some second thoughts about it this spring because of some of the things these kids know about and discuss with our kids. Their innocence for sure has been taken away. Sometimes I worry that our kids might be too sheltered. But then I realize that if they hear something, we tell them about it (to the degree that they need to know). We don’t hide anything. And, the oldest is only eight. How much do they really need to know anyway? I want them to have a wonderful childhood and not worry about such things now. Love the picture. 🙂

  5. Michelle,I love that last line. It’s what I’ve been fighting against since day #1 of our “new” curriculum. It’s an awesome curriculum that has been modified to meet state standards…. so, technically, my 3rd grader is “supposed” to be learning about cocaine and marijuana as well as anorexia and bulimia. I say “supposed” b/c of course she is NOT! I take the little lesson quizzes for her.I see the dilemma as you do, and agree that it is just so very sad.Thanks for saying it so well!

  6. Great observations! I’m with you, keep them innocent as long as you can.

  7. Great post. This reminds so much of what St. Paul says: “To the pure all things are pure, but to the impure nothing is pure” (Titus 1:15).

  8. Kate,THANKS. This is the EXACT “something I read somewhere” that I was thinking of.

  9. Great post M. Wise words. Thanks.

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