“Hi. I’m John McCain and I sponsored this ad,” said my four-year-old.
At the time, my daughter barely knew what the president of the United States was and nothing about an election. What her young mind did know was how to soak up everything like an empty sponge. We know that’s how they learn and grow.
Now six years of age, she told me just before Halloween this year that she loved Lady Gaga. What happened to reading "Lady and the Tramp?" Any woman, or man, for that matter, who will wear raw meat and call it clothing needs her head examined.
Even the best of parents struggle to know what influences their children run across daily. And often times, those influences seep into those little brains and out the mouths of babes.
“Daddy, what’s an African-American?” my first grader says. “Daddy, what’s ‘Amen’ mean?” “Daddy, what are drugs?”
Ah…wait here just a minute. I need to ask mom.
Face it. Inquiries like that are stop-you-in-your-tracks kinds of questions. I’m a big boy and a well-equipped dad, as we all are. I could handle it.
But I still had to have a good answer. This was my moment to rid drugs from my child’s life forever. Right? No pressure.
I turned off the TV and we talked about drugs. When it came to illegal substances, I pictured Nancy Reagan, bless her heart. Just say no.
“The only medicine that you should ever take should come only from momma or daddy,” I said. “Drugs cause people to feel bad, make them really sick,” and yes, I pulled from my abundance of circling thoughts, “and people die from them.”
We talk about death in my house, but not often. It’s a topic I shy away from bringing up due to a family pet that died. I’ll have to save that one for another blog. Put it this way, this fish has been dead for nearly a year. And still, around my house, it's as popular as Justin Bieber.
After carefully lining up my views, as if in some sort of conveyor belt of thoughts, I spoke to each question. Our little sponges soak up so much. We have so little time to squeeze them clean of dirt and untruths.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever gotten, besides the (whisper!) S-E-X one?
Jay Hardy is the father of a six-year-old and a baby in Holly Springs. He's a former sports photographer and reporter for WRAL-TV. Find him here once a month on Wednesdays.