So, this just happened. Tonight at the dinner table we’re sitting, my wife and three daughters and one of our nieces when my oldest (6 years old) asks my niece, do you want to live in a big house like ours? Almost a little embarrassed I ask her, well that’s an interesting question, what made you ask that? She responds, because she knows her cousin lives in a small house in Anderson. Kids. No filter.
Fast forward to about 5 minutes later at the table. My oldest (Riley) again initiates an interesting conversation by blurting out, look, it’s like i’m smoking a cigarette! Not amused, I asked Riley what does she think about smoking (bc I know we’ve taught her how it’s not healthy). That’s when my niece (13 years old mind you) chimes in and says, Oh don’t worry, it’s good for you Riley. I was pissed, I mean, really, can you be more of an example for your young cousins? So I snapped back something about not feeding my kids misinformation, but the thing is, I almost robbed Riley of an opportunity to demonstrate her own judgment on the matter. Fortunately before I responded to my niece, Riley was like, no, smoking is bad. And just like that, the conversation was over.
Look at that. I don’t have to be there 24/7 for her to make the right call. And who knows how many other folks there are out there that she needs to be prepared to stand up to on her own. While it’s a bit disheartening to see her have to do it to a member of her own family (teenagers will try you won’t they?), I’d rather her get the practice now and learn how to exercise judgement while the stakes are still low, rather than later in life when the real world consequences are much higher.