Posted by: Modern Mom | November 6, 2012

Deep Conversations with a Four-year-old

My oldest son is pretty bright. I know most parents say that about their progeny, but I sincerely mean it. Because of this we have always expected a lot of him, and spoken to him more like an adult than a child. We use grown-up words and expressions, and so does he. We try not to use the four letter ones, sometimes unsuccessfully. Then we have conversations about inappropriate language. That’s another topic.

Today, as Modern Boy and I sat eating chicken soup over lunch, he asked me about my “I Voted” sticker. I told him that it said that I voted today because there was an important election to decide who the President of the United States was going to be for the next 4 years. He knows who the President is. Sort of. As much as a 4-year-old can, I suppose. So his next question was about the logistics of the election and voting. What is a vote? What does it mean to vote? How do you do it? Then he asked if people would be voting for me. That one cracked me up. “No. I’m not running for President this year.” “Oh, that’s good,” he replied. “I would miss you if you had to live at the white house.” Sweet, right?

This lead him to asking about ballots. He then remembered a previous conversation we had about a television show where a kid got in trouble for cheating the vote by putting fake ballots in the ballot box. I won’t enter into politics here, but this opened a big can of worms. That lead to talk about cheating, what that means, how it’s different from lying, and why it’s bad. He came up with some good examples, even.

That also lead to talk about greed, and what that means. Then he remembered another television show that spurred a conversation about greed because one of the characters had been consumed with it and turned into a monster. Literally. So I had to explain that greed didn’t physically turn anyone into a monster. I think he was relieved.

By this time, as you might imagine, my brain is sore from trying to explain some very heady adult topics. We had been talking for nearly a half hour and I’m getting nervous about where this might lead next. When he says, “Mommy, this is a very…. big conversation.” I think he was searching for a good word, probably something more like “deep”, but “big” was the best he could surmise.

I agreed, with relief, and we agreed to simply continue to eat our chicken soup and not talk any more about politics. Whew.

What big topics have you tackled with your little ones recently?

*OK, so I know there were references to TV in here. I don’t let him watch it all the time, and I make sure to talk to him about what’s going on whenever I see a teaching opportunity. And hey, it’s working, so TV can’t be all bad, right? Ah, whatever.


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