My children are growing up and I'm finding our conversations more and more difficult to tackle in the scope of their maturity. No longer do I feel that it suffices to answer their questions with a simple answer along the lines of Little House on the Prairie.
In fact, in only the past three months, we have discussed such topics as dating, polygamy, drugs, clicks, divorce, marriage v. living together, abortion & adoption, politics, and becoming an adolescent. None of these subjects were broached by me, either. No, my children come home from school with difficult topics on their mind. Or they watch a portion of the news with me and wonder about the content. I've never been one to dissuade contemplation and I try to answer their questions with both truth and age appropriate language.
But it hasn't been until this year that my answers to their questions were not right at the tip of my tongue. For example, just this morning, my daughter asked about one of her friend's parents living together without marriage. I recognized in her face a look of judgment and for a little bit I tarried on my response (do I answer in the societal appropriate viewpoint or with my own opinion)? I chose my own opinion and told her that it was my own belief that personal love and commitment weighs out before legal obligations but I made sure she knew it was my own opinion----not her opinion; not other's opinions...
My views about life have changed dramatically since my children were babies. Life happened in a big way and it forced me to re-evaluate what truly is important in my family's life. Living a happy and fulfilled life with good food on the table became paramount over providing that perfect sense of childhood that I once took for granted.
I guess when my children ask me those tough questions these days, I temper my answers with personal experience-----with the knowledge that life can throw anyone a curve ball and shake things up a bit and if we have the inner resolve and strength to live our lives within our own moral convictions it doesn't matter how our lives fit within societal norms.
I guess in the end, I hope that my children learn to think for themselves based upon input from both their family and friends but also based upon their own increasing knowledge of the world around them. They are the ones that will truly live their lives with the repercussions of their thoughts and actions, both positive and negative.