The reason God
doesnít give children to people my age is that He knew weíd probably
lay them down and forget where we put them.
This past week we had our eleven-year-old grand daughter and her
best friend at the house for a visit. In the six months since weíve
seen her, she has grown about six inches probably as a result of
some new growth hormone in the cereal they eat these days. Iím amazed
at what they eatÖeverything. They are not picky at this age. They
are like miniature human locusts. Everything gets devoured. I will
say they are somewhat nutritional savvy and donít like fried foods,
which is a big plus in my book. They do like chocolate. They really
So, being the good grandfather type that I am, I decide that Iíll
drop in on the local bookstore and buy these girls some reading
material to pass their time with us.
If you havenít
done this lately, prepare yourself for a shock.
Old dumb me walks in and asks for the pre-teen section. A kindly
lady escorts me over and starts to make recommendations to me. Her
first is a series of some twenty-five books designed for the pre-teen
girl market. I turn the first one over and read the back cover where
I find that the description of the series is something akin to the
TV programÖ.ĒSex and the CityĒ. I quickly put this one back on the
shelf and indicate I need to look around.
I am looking for what I think are kids books, only with smaller
type and fewer pictures. I find some comic books, and grab them
up thinking these are so bland they should be all right. Then I
stumble onto something called the young girls pre teen guide to
petting. Iím thinking this is about the care and feeding of animals,
you know like cats and dogsÖhorses, those kinds of pets. Nope, not
so. This is a guide to the pre teen about PETTING. You knowÖ like
petting. You do remember that word, donít you? I am not buying this
book. I am not going to discuss this book. I am not happy this book
is written, printed and published. Eleven-year-old girls do not
need instructions on petting.
Or at least from me.
By this time I am breaking out in a cold sweat and want to flee
from the place as quickly as possible. Then sanity sets back in,
my panic subsides and I decide to look around some more and see
what they might have that I could bring home without being embarrassed.
Iím looking for something along the lines of ďFreda and the Magic
PonyĒ but canít find anything that matches my criteria. I settle
for a young girl magazine, a puzzle and some books about pioneer
women. I figure stories about women in the 1800ís canít be all that
bad for them to read. I donít want to bring something home in the
interest of good will and have two mothers get irate with me. I
need some rules and guidelines for this stuff.
When I was eleven, my major concern was how often to oil my bicycle
chain and what time did we eat. Not so today. These kids are exposed
to everything. I started to notice what they watched on TV at our
house. Luckily, it was mainly the Disney channel and some thing
called Nickelodeon. At least it wasnít Barney or those Telly Tubbie
things. The TV shows seemed innocent enough and didnít concern me
all that much. Since we donít watch a lot of TV at our house, it
was kind of interesting to see what was of interest to girls at
this age. Seemed to be a lot of talk show format type stuff, lots
of jumping around with worm eating contests. I couldnít find the
movie version of ďFreda and the Magic Pony.Ē
My wife had
the same problem. She took the girls shopping for new bathing suits.
I missed this. Iím glad. She told me she was amazed at what they
picked. Iím thrilled I didnít have to go and even more thrilled
I didnít see the suits. The mothers loved them and said they were
all the style. Who knows? Ignorance is bliss in my book.
At times I
wish I were much younger. Then again, if I was, I might have kids
this age and have to go through the process of making these decisions.
I would imagine itís a tough balance. How do you protect your children
and yet keep them aware of what is going on in the world around
them? When is the time to talk to them about such things as petting?
How early do they need to know about drugs?
My heart goes
out to every parent who has children in this age group or younger.
I can tell you that my generation did not have adequate tools to
explain the ills of society or the dangers of life in general. I
think we all need classes on how to teach and how to explain the
meaning of life to our children and grandchildren.
© Peary Perry
From North America
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