>Life is complicated. We’re raised with rules. We’re raised to believe that life necessitates morals. I think that most of us have grown up with this modeled for us. Parents give rules and guidelines. They help set paths so that we aren’t led astray. As a parent myself, daily I’m faced with encouraging my kids to follow rules. I tell them it’s to keep them safe, to help them learn to obey, to show respect, to… to do it because I just said so!
Yet, in life we also have this inherent desire to push limits and decide which rules should be broken. Children are constantly found testing limits, at least in my house.
“What’s wrong with feeding the cat lunch meat on the brown chair?” Maybe it’s because we don’t even have a cat, that cat is the neighbors. And because that’s the only piece of furniture that doesn’t look like it’s been attacked by rabid monkeys.
“Why wont you let me jump on your bed?!” I wonder if it’s because that’s how you got seven staples in your head in the ER? Did that head injury affect your memory, too??
“Can I get a new, real tattoo?” When you’re old enough and you have a good idea…
This brings into play the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. It seems inevitable that eventually those words will spill forth from our mouths, as we regret every syllable. But, as you run across the street to catch the dog without looking for cars, so it must be said.
Why does this all come up? Because, as child I was taught to not speak to strangers. Not to fear them either, but to be cautious. And, now as a parent I find myself thinking about “Stranger Danger” (thank you Berenstain Bears), and how to teach my kids. And I wonder how, after growing up and taking this lesson to heart, my mother never believed it herself.
My mom talked to a stranger, and not just any stranger, but a stranger that offered her chocolate. And then invited her to come to a house to get more “free” chocolate. Did she run? Did she flee? No. She, envisioning chocolate like Edmund envisions Turkish delight in the Chronicles of Narnia, wanted only more. Though, to her credit, unlike greedy little Edmund, she wanted to share the spoils. So, she invited me.
Words cannot describe the dread I faced as I approached the poorly lit house. And even after arriving and finding many familiar faces within(familiar only to my mother), I still couldn’t help but worry. I kept envisioning triangles and pyramids and other random geometric shapes. To be sure, everything I feared came to pass. We sat through an hour-long preview of what will soon be the nations next leading infomercial.
“It’s fun! It’s FUN! I like FUN! I like cookies! I never knew it could be SO FUN!”
“And yes, it’s true, she’s even a doctor. A real doctor!. A real doctor endorsing this!”
“It cured my diabetes, my blood pressure, my hypoglycemia, ADHD, glaucoma, even my iron deficiency, mermaid syndrome, narcolepsy, baldness, irrational fear of bats, my asthma, my head lice and I even grew back one of my missing toes!”
To be sure, after our secret meeting was over, it would happen sooner or later. Someone would be the first to leak the info on this miracle drug. I decided that someone would be me. How will we make millions? How will we cure almost every disease? What is this wonder-drug? Chocolate.
Yet, as much as I wont buy what they’re giving, I wont deny that I will continue to benefit from my own self-prescribed dosage. But, unlike as was recommended by these fun-loving strangers, I will not be eating my chocolate in the evening as a replacement for mouthwash. No eating after brushing my teeth is one rule I just can’t break.