Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ansel Adams morality

This morning, Mama was driving 3B to school when she heard him gasp from the back seat.

"Mommy, I just saw a woman lighting a cigarette."

"Oh, really?"

"That's not good."

"No, that's not. It's bad for her body and it's bad for the air. It makes the air dirty."

"Why did she do that?"

"Well, we all make mistakes sometimes."


"So she's a sanner."


"A what?"

"A sanner."


"Oh, you mean a sinner. Well, no, she's not a sinner, she just made a mistake."
This is probably funnier for those of you who know how churched up we are at the Bradstein Household, which is not at all.

3B has absorbed his morality from the best of sources: folk music. Specifically his love affair with Alison Krauss and her version of Down in the Valley to Pray with Ricky Skaggs and Doc Watson, who both pronounce "sinner" as "sanner."

Several months back, when the video was on high rotation in our house, 3B asked all kinds of questions about it, including What's a sinner?

We explained that a sinner was someone who made a mistake. We also added that sinners apologize for their mistakes. That may not be entirely correct, but it helped us convince a certain child that apologies are the norm.

Apparently, these messages stick with him. Not only is he good about apologizing, but it's been months since we watched that video, and he still connected "mistake" with "sinner."

Now all we need to do is introduce him to a morality with shades of gray.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!


  1. Wait a few years for the shades of gray. Then you can teach him how to tell the truth carefully, just not the whole truth.

  2. Yes, as I learned when I played Smokey Bear, there's an age to say "Fire is bad" and an age to say "Some fire is bad."

  3. I miss you guys! Why is life so dang busy? I'm off to NY this weekend AGAIN...Hope it's not 2010 before we see you guys again!

  4. FF:
    We miss you too.
    I don't know.
    Have fun.
    Let's make a plan for the first weeks of Dec. ...swim in your new pool, maybe?

  5. Well, is he drawing a penis on God yet?
    {give him a year...}

  6. Enjoyed the post. Those little ones are always listening!

    I said f-a-r-t the other day and my daughter busted me flat-out with "I thought YOU said you didn't like that word.. I thought YOU said it was an uneducated one".

    Also, your situation could be worse. Fresh from a 'say no to drugs' talk at school, a neighbor's kid pointed at a smoker and in a loud (even more than a regular first grader) voice said MOMMY!! that man is using DRUGS!!

  7. Technically, the neighbor's kid is correct, but I don't envy the parent who has to explain the difference between legal and illegal drugs.