Friday, December 05, 2008

Sometimes you have to lie to your child

Judith Warner in the NY Times today:

“Why are there only shoes and blood and no bodies?” she [Emilie, Warner's 8 year-old daughter] asked me after the attacks in Mumbai, when The Times ran a gruesome photo.

“The bodies were taken away,” I said.

She didn’t say anything, but she looked relieved. She thought, I guess, that the bodies had been vaporized right out of their shoes.

“Tell me the story of the atom bomb.”


“How can Wal-Mart sell things so cheaply? Why do people want stuff so badly? Why do they call it Black Friday?” She can’t get the questions out of her mind.


“There’s nothing on YouTube,” I told Emilie [responding to whether the death of the WalMart salesman might have been captured on video and posted on YouTube], plagued by a memory of the long legs outstretched. Damour was a big man – 6-foot-5, 270 pounds – news reports said. How could he have been knocked down? How could he not have managed to get up?

“Do you think people just walked over him? Do you think they saw him? Did they run away when the police came?”

“I’m not sure that they knew that they’d done it,” I said.

That sounded, even to me, like a lie. Perhaps it was. But it felt like good parenting.


Vidya Jayaraman said...

Sometimes we lie to ourselves, hoping we shield our children from a lot of things. Not sure if it is good or bad.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Ain't that the truth!