Thursday, March 20, 2008

Unwelcome Opinion

This week it has been mostly sunny and warmer and my kids have been venturing out into the neighborhood with greater regularity. I love that we live in a relatively safe area that doesn't have a lot of non-resident traffic because my kids can come and go and I don't have to watch them the whole time. There is a circle 1 house down off of our street and the kids tend to gather there with their scooters and bikes, they also shoot hoops at our neighbors, whose driveway I can see from my front windows.

Gunnar was out a couple of days ago and happened to see one of our nieghbor's adult son smoking while working in his yard. Being Gunnar, he of course approached him and let him know "Smoking is bad for you, you could die. And besides, Jesus doesn't want you to do it." This guy responded that he didn't want to live to be an old man, and he doesn't believe that Jesus exists, and for that matter, neither does Satan. He also told him that he went ot the same church we go to when he was little and now he knows better.

Gunnar promptly ran home to relate the story to me and I was floored. This is an adult, telling a 4 year old that something his parents and all the adults in his life have taught him is not true. HeLlo?!? My response to my trusting curious son was something along these lines, "Well buddy, I know he's a grown up, but he's obviously confused. We know that Jesus loves us, so he exists. And Satan, well confusing people is one of his best tricks. If he can get someone to think he doesn't exist then it won't matter to them if they make bad choices, will it? OH, and this is a guy who smokes even though he knows it could kill him...I wouldn't listen to him if I were you. Why don't you just not talk to him when you see him around."

Shortly after this I was talking a walk to a neighbor's house with all my kids and the same guy happened to be in his yard. Gunnar crossed the street and told him loudly enough that I could hear, "My Mom said I shouldn't talk to you anymore." He responded that he thought that was probably a good idea. Nice.

I haven't confronted him, and I don't think I will. Gunnar basically already did, and the problem seems to be averted. But, did I do the right thing? What would you have done if you were in my place?


  1. So far so good, but it may help to introduce the concept of agency into the discussion with Gunnar. He's old enough to grasp the concept that choices are steps on a path, and Gunnar's choices are leading him on the path that Heavenly Father knows will make him happy, while the other guy is chosing a path that isn't going to please him or Heavenly Father, but Heavenly Father won't force him and expects the guy to make his own choices. Remember that little ditty from My Turn On Earth, "when you choose the very first step on the road, you also choose the last, so if you don't like the end of the road, you better wake up, you know you better wake up fast!" You've always been really good at seeing the easy logic behind worthy choices, and that will be a great asset to your kids. hugs--M

  2. I think you did the right thing. Confronting the guy yourself would not have accomplished any more than Gunnar already did himself. The important thing was letting Gunnar know that not everyone makes right choices and teaching him to know the difference between right and wrong, which he does. Good job, mom!

  3. I just love your mom ... so full of wisdom!! I agree with everything she said ;)

  4. I think you did the right thing. That's the approach we take with our kids. We tell them that some people do things that Heavenly Father doesn't want them to, but that in our family we don't do those things. Or at least we try not to. We're not perfect, right?

    It's been interesting trying to explain to some of Ruby's friends why she isn't allowed to go out and play with them on Sunday. They have no concept of religion. "You think about God and spend time with your family all day? That sounds boring!" Ruby doesn't have a problem with it, though, so we must be doing something right.

    I think your mom's advice was great. I just love your mom.