With school beginning and the fall schedule ramping up, I bet you’ve already been asked this question what seems like umpteen times: “Why do I have to go to school?”
The idea of abandoning the pool, watching movies, eating treats, and going to bed late seems illogical to a seasoned school-goer. After all, why would your seven-year-old give up such an idyllic routine to sit in a classroom the whole day and maybe have homework to do as well? Frankly, a lot of adults would prefer the former setup, too!
The obvious answer is easy to respond to: Well, you go to school to learn new things, find new friends, and participate in activities you could never do at home. Learning new things helps you understand the world around you better.
As you get older (like your cousin in Grade 7), you can start thinking about what you’d like to do, and who you’d like to be. Daddy helps animals get better – he’s what’s called a veterinarian. Maybe you want to be that, too. Going to school helps you decide what you want to do. Isn’t that great?
The answer may be obvious but difficult to explain: We have day and night because the earth rotates around the sun and turns on its axis over a 24-hour period. That’s why one day equals 24 hours. Let’s Google this and see if there are any pictures or videos we can look at together. Good question!
The answer may be obvious, but your child may not be old enough to appreciate the real answer: When Mommy and Daddy love each other very much, they are together in a special way that makes a baby. Mommy carries the new baby – just like she carried you – for nine months until your new brother or sister is ready to be born.
(This level of question-and-answer will depend on the level of vocabulary you have already introduced to your child. If you already use the words “vagina” and “penis” with them, then your conversation about “how babies are made/where do they come from?” may hold a greater comfort level for you and your daughter.)
The question is simple but difficult to answer: “How come I’m here, Dad?” or “Why am I made the way I am?” These questions may cause some stumbling or hesitation on your part because you may be grappling with the answers yourself. The important aspect here is to set a context within which your children can feel safe and secure.
Your beliefs and values play a role in building the framework for your child. You then have something to reference for your son when these types of questions start coming your way.
The greatest disservice you can do for your kids is to leave them in a vacuum with no sense of life markers to understand the bigger questions of life that they – like you did before them – will inevitably ask.