Is Daddy Going to Drink That Poison?

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I had a conversation with my four year old son this morning, after he saw a bottle of Mountain Dew on the counter, and it went something like this:

SON: Did Daddy bring that home?

ME: Yes, he did.

SON: Is he going to drink it?

ME: Probably.

SON (with look of deep concern on his face): But isn’t it bad?

ME: It might make him sick if he has enough of it.

SON: Then why does he drink it?

ME: Because junk food is addictive. Once you start eating it, it can be hard to stop.

SON: I don’t think God should make that then.

ME: God didn’t make that; people did.

SON: But why did people make it?

ME: To make money. They don’t care about people being healthy, they just want people to give them money for it.

SON (with look of disgust): People shouldn’t make that.

ME: I agree.

I admit, this conversation is a little heavier than I’d like to have with a four year old, but I’m not going to lie to him. I know soda and other junk food cause disease. He was looking at that bottle of soda the way I would have looked at a cigarette when I was a child. It’s no different, really. I know people tend to look at junk food as “fun” food, as something that is innocent and appropriate for all ages, but in reality, it is like cigarettes, and it’s not appropriate for anyone. Like cigarettes, junk food is addictive. Like cigarettes, junk food makes people sick and even kills people. But somehow it just doesn’t seem that bad.

It was almost disturbing to me that he would look at a bottle of soda as if it were a terrible poison. I grew up in a world where alcohol and tobacco and other drugs were known to cause disease and ruin lives, but where soda was fun and believed to be relatively safe. I know that children all over our nation are consuming soda in small and large quantities, which would surely horrify my little boy, as it does me. I’m glad he knows it’s unhealthful and doesn’t want it.  I think what bothers me is that he can see that other people are ingesting harmful things and just like most parents, I wish my child could live in ignorant bliss.

And I don’t like that it makes other people appear irresponsible to my child, especially his dad and his grandparents. So I tell him they don’t understand how bad it is. But I also don’t want him to worry about their health, the way I worried about my dad’s. He knows my dad died from eating a poor diet. I don’t want him to think is dad is going to die, too. I try to keep things in perspective for him (daddy eats mostly healthy foods whereas my dad ate mostly unhealthy foods), but he’s just four. He shouldn’t even need to be thinking about this stuff. But I can’t just brush it away with a “Oh, it’s okay for Daddy to have that,” either. *sigh*

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. sharpcas says:

    That’s kinda like how we explain about the doughnuts that are set out after church. We’ve had similar conversations about certain things. But I can see it in his eyes thinking ‘well why is everyone eating it AND enjoying it so much’. They just dont know how bad it is. Well you know I wouldn’t care if he tried it once. Like we went to voodoo doughnuts because I’ve always wanted to go there just to go. But If we let him try once at church it would turn into an every week ritual instead of the once in a life time voodoo trip.
    I said last night that I wish I wasn’t such a food snob and could just eat somewhere (like Bens work picnic) and not care what’s in everything. But I just can’t do that because it’s gross. And someone has to stand up and stop eating the crap that is everywhere. With all the other bad things out there it’s hard to believe food is such a big deal but it is.

    1. Lisa C says:

      “And someone has to stand up and stop eating the crap that is everywhere. With all the other bad things out there it’s hard to believe food is such a big deal but it is.”

      I love that. I mean, you’re right. There are just so many traps we can fall into and food is one of them. The sad thing is that people just don’t understand how unhealthful some things are. Everyone knows they should take care of their bodies, but so few people really know how to anymore. And I know what you mean about not wanting to be a food snob. But when you reach that point where you care so much about your health and you lose that desire to eat junk, there is just no point in eating it. I want my child to start life out desiring truly nourishing food, rather than be like me where I didn’t learn it until I was over 30. Even if that means he has to look at junk food like it’s some horrible thing (which it is!).

  2. Janice says:

    Hi Lisa: Moses feels the same way about soda pop — that’s it’s very, very bad for you, like a poison. We’ve had very similar conversations with him in our house….

    1. My three year old was horrified when her dad gave her a sweetie as a treat. He thought he was being a good dad, and all he got was ‘Nooooo! I don’t want my bad germs to grow!’ She has candida issues.

      1. Lisa C says:

        Isn’t awesome they care about being healthy? That reminds me of when my son’s grandpa tried to sneak him some chocolate candy and he refused and then told on him lol.

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