I was tucking my son into bed a few weeks ago when he started asking some heavy questions. Normally, I would take any conversation immediately preceding lights out as a stalling tactic, but I couldn’t leave him hanging when he asked if we were all going to die one day.
I took a moment and thought about how to answer him in an age-appropriate way. Pulling out the old “flower” metaphor (used no doubt by millions of parents before me), I explained that life is a cycle, and that yes, every beginning has to have an end. He stared at me wide-eyed, so I quickly added there was no reason to worry because he is young and that’s a long way off. A few seconds passed and then he asked if I was going to die soon, because I’m old. Bruised ego aside, I assured him with a prompt “no” and kiss on the forehead. That seemed to do it as he rolled over and grabbed his bear.
He felt better, but all I could think was I potentially just lied to my kid. What I should have said was “Honey, mommy is doing everything she can to stay healthy, but really, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Plus, some are predicting the world will end this December. Sleep tight!” Honesty is over-rated, plus the kid needed to sleep. What’s a parent to do?
|Want to live for a long time? Go to the gym,|
quit smoking and eat healthy - all things
that have been shown to extend the average lifespan.
While as inevitable as taxes, death is usually far less predictable. That’s another reason why I find all this Mayan doomsday talk such a waste of time. Not only is the idea bunk in my opinion, but it also takes the focus away from what we really should be concentrating on. Want to live for a long time? Go to the gym. Quit smoking. And stop eating foods your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. Aim to surpass the national average lifespan by relying on credible life extending evidence, and hey, if the world gets annihilated by a giant meteor in the meantime, at least you can say you tried (and looked great in your jeans in the process). And as I recently did, you can at least lie to your child with a decent hint of integrity in your eyes. Here’s to making death, and worry, the last things on our to-do lists.