THIS Is Why We Shouldn’t Teach Kids to Be Themselves

My friend, IMG_8513Valerie, and I carpool to get her sweet girls, age 6 and 9, and my twin, 9-year-old boys from school.

And these 4 kids are friends. I mean, real friends who can’t wait to hang out with each other and play and don’t think the other gender has cooties.

HOW CUTE IS THAT, you guys? AND HOW GOOD ARE WE AT PARENTING, right?? SO GOOD. We are SO GOOD at parenting to make this happen! We deserve awards and gold stars, and someone should put us in charge of global parenting programs.

Or put Valerie in charge.

Me? Maybe not so much.

 

Valerie started posting Adventures in Carpooling to my Facebook wall this fall.

ADVENTURES IN CARPOOLING #1

So on our way to your house today your kid was telling me about the souvenirs you brought him from Italy. He got candy, cheese and PENIS shaped pasta. And I quote, “I got PENIS pasta. In the shape of PENISES! And there are BLACK ones. Black PENIS noodles. They are black from squid ink. I am so happy to have gotten PENIS pasta!” Super happy about the pasta. Now to explain to my girls what a penis is….

ADVENTURES IN CARPOOLING #2

Your Kid: “Can I say swear words in your car like CRAP and SHIT?”

IMG_8515

ADVENTURES IN CARPOOLING #3 AND #4

After my kid found play doh in the back seat of the van and distributed it to your boys…
Your Kid: “I am going to make a PENIS out of mine. Wait…this is too big to be my PENIS, this looks like your PENIS, Bro. Yours is bigger but my BALLS are bigger…”
His Twin Brother: “Yes, my BALLS
are really small, yours are much bigger.”
Your Kid: “Valerie do you drink?”
Me: “No.”
Your Kid: “You should. My mom says its really good for Moms to drink.”
(I am considering it after that ride.)

THIS, friends.

THIS is why we shouldn’t teach children to be themselves.

We blithely walk around saying, “Be yourself!” and “Be the most you you can be!” But we do not consider the FULL IMPLICATIONS of our encouragement.

We do not consider the fact that the most true to himself a nine-year-old boy child can be is one who compares his ball sac with his twin brother’s. And then talks about it in PUBLIC.

This is what is wrong with modern parenting.

And THIS is why our elders who suppressed expression and championed crippling inhibitions were so much wiser than us.

In conclusion, I’m reconsidering all my life choices.

Sincerely,

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P.S.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
15 comments
  1. Reading this aloud….to friends. Always appreciate a penis story!

  2. Hysterical!
    Thanks for the laughs.

    1. Valerie is a really good friend! I wish my childrens’ friends’ parents had been more understanding about such things.

      1. Same here

  3. The essential problem here is that children learn much more through the example of their parents.

  4. Love this.

    When my son was 3 or so, the pediatrician said we should teach him to refer to his parts with the correct anatomical term. I’m a biologist so this is less of a big deal to me than to most people. So, I taught him and he did not seem terribly attached to saying penis all the time, so I thought this went well.

    A few days later, we went to a popular farmers market, filled with lovely older people, children from a local preschool, young well-kempt mothers with their young ones in fancy strollers, etc. It was fall so there were pumpkins everywhere. My dear son, who even at that age could really project (he now plans to be an actor), points excitedly at a large pumpkin with nice long stem, and says “Mom, mom, look, that pumpkin has a penis too!!!”

    Needless to say, we did not go back there for a long time, and we taught him some different words to use to refer to his parts.

    He still asks me to tell the pumpkin penis story.

  5. Thank you.

  6. I have one brother but all the kids in our neighborhood were boys, and this brought me back to my childhood. I still don’t understand the obsession with the penis. And the bodily noises. Over and over again.

    Related to your last post, a friend directed me to this article, and I thought of you: http://www.drkimeckert.com/1/post/2015/12/when-darkness-surrounds-you.html

  7. oh my gawd you’re killin me! I just died. Good stuff.

  8. I wish we knew each other and were neighbors – because then my family wouldn’t be the only crazy ones on the block. I would send my son over to play with your boys all of the time because I also have questionable judgment but excellent priorities.

  9. My (then 6 yr old) son, to my soon to be wife, in a confidential whisper:

    “Mandy, my wiener is huge. I mean, really. It’s MASSIVE.”

    (He then contemplates said wiener by pulling underwear away from waist and staring down at it wide-eyed. Shakes his head. Looks back up at her.)

    “Seriously. You don’t even KNOW.”

    1. BAHAHAHAHA!

      Also, YES. THIS IS A BOY.

      Awesome story, Grace.

  10. Hilarious.

    You can get penis shaped pasta from most adult toy stores here in America. Not that I’d know first hand. Of course, they may not be colored with squid ink. Ok, your black penis pasta is better.

  11. Thank you. I needed this today. You are awesome and your friend Valerie is awesome.

  12. My eyes are sweating from laughing so much! Yes, always nice when the kids get uber comfy with friends and you make a deal with the other Mom that everyone only believes HALF of what they hear. Good times!

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