Friday, May 22, 2009

Truth or fiction, the view from under 4 feet.

***Thanks to Lori and Anne for carrying this blog! And apologies for dropping off! Life interuptus.***

When I picked up my 6-year-old son from school the other day, I asked about his field trip to the local ice cream joint. His entire elementary school, including 6 kindergarten classes, was bussed to the downtown area for ice cream. Then, class-by-class, they all walked back to school.

He recounted the bus ride, including the bus driver's three trips around a block before finding a place to drop them off. He explained that he ended up with a chocolate ice cream cone, cuz they were out of Superman--which is now called SuperKid he noted.

Then he told me about their experience at the pond--a little sidetrip on the walk back to school. Told me he caught a turtle. In a net. A net with turtle food in it to lure them. He told me about a poisonous frog and went into great detail about how the frog uses its poison to protect itself from other animals.

I'm paraphrasing here, considerably shortening up his richly detailed account. But trust me, I was enthralled and entertained. I took him to his after-school daycare and returned to work.

When I picked him up after work, our chat began anew. And he mentioned that he saw a turtle at the pond. "I thought you caught a turtle," I said.

He responded, very nonchallantly, "Oh no, we didn't catch any. We just saw one. That was a story."

Dilemna? Or no? Story? Or lie?

A bit of a struggle for us right now. There is no question, my son is a great, great storyteller. Imaginative, but realistic enough to pull the listener in and keep her there. Beginning, middle and end--with sound order and flow. And soooo rich in detail, it awes me.

This is talent, IMO. And I encourage it ruthlessly. However, I do ask that he tell me--up front--when he is about to tell me a story. I've instructed him to show the same respect to everyone else in his life as well. He complies with that request more often than not.

But those times he does not? Potential problem I guess. That line between truth and fiction. Between a little boy's imagination--wanting to recount an event the way he wishes it had played out, instead of the way it did play out.

I did that as a child, mostly in my own head though. Did you? Healthy, right? I think so. Most of the time. But I'm worried a little too.

So how do you encourage the storyteller and, at the same time, instill those critical values of honesty, truthfulness?

4 People Gabbed:

Jennifer B. said...

Oh, and yes. I take both credit and blame:

Lori said...

Jen, it's totally age appropriate for him to stretch the truth and fantasize like that. Those aren't deliberate lies - and that's the only thing I'd be worried about.

He has a great imagination, and you are so right to encourage it.

Linda said...

It's an interesting quandary. Sounds like he does recognize the difference between his little "porkies" (Cockney slang for stories - porkies rhymes with stories). So I guess I'd encourage the creativity. From all you've said about G, I think you're a great mom.

Jennifer B. said...

Thanks Ladies! Really, it's just the "stretching the truth" part (to others who won't know any better) that concerns me. Doesn't appear to be happening, but then again, I spend a LOT less time with his friends now--can't host playdates anymore.

Course I also know they tell stories when his friend Jordan got cut and had to have stitches...per Jordan, it was a chainsaw, LOL. In truth, it was a jagged edge of a bed frame. Ah well.

Thanks again for your input...I love having you all for sounding boards and support.