Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Surprised by a Teachable Moment...

G-man is reading quite well. Finally. It clicked at the end of school last year and the beginning of the school year this year. So he's reading everything.... well, every sign.

On the way home from a doctor's visit - he was reading the signs "That says 'do not enter'. Why does it say that?"

'cause it's an off-ramp - not an on ramp.

It's really difficult not to compare the learning curves set by each child. Mini-Me was reading voraciously by the second grade. So G-man is a bit behind where she was in second grade. It's funny to hit this stage with him because I honestly thought we were going to just skip it.

Apparently not.

We had to stop at the stop light, and he was looking out the window.
"What's a 'smoke shop'?"

"Um. It's a place where you can buy cigarrettes, cigars and the like."

"To Smoke?"

"Yeah. People smoke them." I can't remember exactly what was said next, but I commented, "It's not exactly healthy."

From the back seat, came the authoritative voice of Mini-Me, "What do you mean 'not exactly'?"

Surprise.

A teachable moment.
I am the child of smokers.
My mom only stopped about 7 years ago when she had a massive heart attack that nearly killed her.

I've heard so many people talk about how they "pray for smokers" -- as if smoking causes their salvation to be questioned. or as if the smoker needs our pity or God's mercy any more than non-smokers. That philosophy rather irks me.

To present this topic carefully, inserting the love of God, was my desire.
I just didn't expect to have the conversation in the car. At the stop light.

So I had to explain to them that it's not healthy. That it can make your heart, throat, lungs sick. But it doesn't make everybody sick. I made sure that even though other people may smoke, we love the person. I don't want the kids to grow up with the notion that smoking is evil or wrong...which leads to judging of the person.

It was just a funny conversation to have at a stop light.
I wasn't exactly ready for it - which proves the point that teachable moments are often surprises.

I'm probably in for some more now that G-man is reading signs in the van. Every car ride could be a teachable moment.

10 comments:

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Not exactly healthy? No not really. Your kids crack me up. Oh -and you do too!

Poopsie said...

I love those car rides! The ones where we have intersting lessons we did not expect to have.

On the side, I started back at work today. There are a couple of co-workers that I enjoy "hanging out" with. Because today was a "meeting" day, we were all going out to lunch. I asked these two if I could ride with them. Their response, "We're smokers." I said I don't mind, I wasn't going to pass judgement. They both mentioned how there "are others that do", made me think along the lines you mentioned. I pointed out that if anything, it is my hope that they stay healthy, because I enjoy their company, and then I let it go.
Thank you for the reminder to teach my kids that it is not our job to judge, only to show compassion.

Classic MaMa said...

We must be related somehow. This summer, we had the same conversation. Really, now. This is getting scary.

The Gang's All Here! said...

Yeah, car rides past billboards have created some really interesting and scary question and answer session in the Gang's various vehicles over the years.

What's abortion?

What's a foster home?

What's that lady wearing?

Why is that lady almost naked Mommy?

:O

Arby said...

For five years General Mayhem prayed for God to help his grandmother stop smoking. He's 11. Many times during those five years the General would publicly ask for people to pray to God and ask him to help his Grandmother quit smoking, such as when prayer requests were asked for at church services or in a youth group. He didn't do it because as a smker she needed anything more than a non-smoker. He just knew that she needed help, and God was the One who could help her. She quit smoking this year. I'll only say this - none of us are so healthy or so wealthy that we can afford to turn down a prayer on our behalf.

Livin' Life said...

That's just great. Last Summer we had a similar situation with Hooters. They asked me if people who like birds go there since it has an owl on it. My husband smiled from ear to ear and said I could take that one. Boy oh boy kids will stretch you.

Growin' with it! said...

hmm i can think of something else that isn't healthy...overeating...ahem, not that i struggle with that or anything. i absolutely love those precious moments w/ our kids when we can explain things with grace and love!

jugglingpaynes said...

As someone who has lost a mother-in-law (when my son was 11 months) and a father-in-law (when Sierra was a baby) to lung cancer caused by smoking, I would say that smoking is an unhealthy habit.

That is not to say they were bad people because they smoked. I miss them, especially my FIL, who was like an extra father. You could focus on the fact that all of us have our vices, unhealthy habits that we really should stop but haven't for whatever reason. Smoking is just one of the more noticeable unhealthy habits. We're not perfect, you know?

And you really shouldn't overthink these things. It's not exactly healthy. ;o)

Peace and Laughter,
Cristina

Dapoppins said...

My Mom is a smoker, and my kids are often exposed to it...I always have a negative reaction when we talk about it...I need to be more like you...more about the health issues and not the icky smell!

melanie said...

I don't think a parent is ever really ready to answer those questions.

And I get annoyed with the way peopel treat smokers too- look down on them, etc. I know it's not good to do, but the person is still a person and should be treated that way.