I wanted to share an event that my sister posted to her blog today. My hope is that it can motivate people to realize how their health choices affect children.
My 3yr old niece picks up my cigarette pack and says, "I was going to put fire on these, or is that only for you to do?"
Me: "No that's very bad"
Zoe: "Oh. Is it bad for all the people? Mommy, Asher and Zoe?"
Me: "Yea, and me. I need to stop putting fire to those but..."
Zoe: "But what?"
Me: "Nothing, it's just bad." Commence the guilt attack.
I was so struck by the way my niece phrased her thoughts: I was going to put fire to these. It has such beautiful imagery, and makes me feel like my niece sees my sister as some sort of magician who has the unique ability to light something close to her face on fire.
A three year old cannot understand nicotine addiction, or social pressure, or trying to cope with anxiety and depression. All she can understand about her aunt is that she loves her and wants to emulate her.
I am not writing this to make people to feel guilty. I am an occasional smoker myself, as terrible as that is. What I found important about this event is that it reminded me how children look up to us. They see our actions as pure and justified because we tell them adults are smart. For those reasons we should be vigilant about understanding the health messages we are sending to them.
Kids have a way of phrasing the truth in a very impactful way. Have you ever been dosed some harsh truth about yourself by a child who loves you?