I remember the first time that one of my kids ever told me about a dream they’d had. He was 4 years old. It was the middle of the night. He woke me up, crying because the villan from the movie, Free Birds was chasing him. I don’t know why Disney and Pixar and whoever else insist on making the bad guys so scary. Geez, I mean, have you watched The Little Mermaid lately? Ursula is terrifying. Anyway, I hugged him and reminded him that that guy is a character in a movie. No one is chasing him. He is safe.
On the way home from school last week, my son, years older now, told me about another one of his dreams. In this dream he was naked and someone we know said, “Nice privates.”
He said, “I don’t know why they said that. Is that something that adults say to each other?”
Well, no. But also, yes. The more important question is, is it something we should say to each other? What messages are we sending to our children?
Sometimes I’m embarrassed to try to explain to my kids why adults act and say certain things. Try explaining to your child why any adult would ever say something like, “Nice penis, nice vagina” . . . super weird. And of course, the language adults use is much more crude, as if that somehow disguises the idiocy of the whole thing.
I’m not talking about whispers, behind closed doors between lovers. My kids are getting messages about their bodies from TV, magazines, friends and even other adults that we know and respect.
I told him that, no, adults don’t say this to each other. It’s only a matter of time before he finds out the truth. In fact, this dream is probably proof that he already suspects or knows this on a subconscious level.
We talked about our bodies as being vessels for our souls. Sometimes we have strong bodies that enable us to do the things we want and need to do. Sometimes we have weak bodies that need a lot of help. Some bodies are tall, short, round, edgy, brownish, whiteish . . . focusing here is missing the point.
Whether our privates are “nice” or not, isn’t the point.
Taking all the goodness in our souls and connecting it to our actions . . . that is the worthwhile struggle.