Last Friday, after I got home from Track and Field practise, my wife informed me that she and our son had made a deal. Our son would have one serving of vegetable everyday until his birthday (a month from now) and he could have the Jake and the Neverland Pirates sword he's been eyeing at Target. (Jake and the Neverland Pirates is a show on the Disney channel that our son frequently watches.) He agreed and, after a couple of delays, he was to have his first bite of vegetable last night.
Veggies are good for you. All sorts of research shows that but not everyone is going to love every kind of legume or leaf out there. Some people, like my wife, do. Others, like me, not so much. I eat the vegetables I like and I discard the ones I don't. I also took to veggies later in life - around my late teenage years - so I'm not too concerned about when my son gets there. He will eventually. Anyway, next to his bowl of Mac 'n Cheese, my wife put down a bowl of steamed mixed vegetables. She forked a broccoli floret and offered it to our son. He looked at it, leaned forward and sniffed it. Then, he went for it but, just as quickly, he backed off. My wife reminded him of their deal to which he shrugged, scrunched his face and said, "You know, I don't think I want a
In other situations, when he's changed his mind and expressed it, there's been a hint of manipulation and pity in his voice and, when we've taken the offering away, he'll immediately change his mind and eat or do whatever it is he'd decided not to. In this case, however, there wasn't any of that. The look on his face and the tone in his voice was sincere, without any kind of irony or pouting or suffering. Naturally, my wife and I were disappointed that he hadn't stuck to his guns and tried the veggies. Like I said earlier, though, he'll get to them eventually.
What was more impressive to me, however, was his value judgement. He'd decided that the sword wasn't worth the cost of eating something that looked and smelled unappealing, to him, and which he felt he wasn't ready for. And, to be completely, honest, I felt proud and pleased. He'd changed his mind and, I believe, he did so after weighing out his options; as much as an almost five year old can. I was especially pleased, too, because he'd made his own decision and stuck to it, even after my wife reminded him a second time that he wouldn't get his sword this way.
There are some people who contend that, in terms of personality, who we are when we're children is ultimately who we'll be when we're adults. If that is, indeed, true then I'm happy. You see, my son showed that he's going to make his own decisions, stick by them and not be coerced by outside influences (the sword). Instead, he's going to have his own value system and do what he does based on that. He knows that he can change his mind
about things and that doesn't make him a bad human being.
Naturally, I'd hoped he eaten the veggies but, in the larger scheme of things, I'm glad he didn't. Well done, son.