Thirty some years ago our oldest daughter climbed onto the school bus and went off for her first day of kindergarten. I saw her seated safely in the front seat (I know the hierarchy of school bus seating). I offered up a prayer for protection and that was it. She was gone; delivered into the hands of a hostile yet exciting world. How would she do? I wondered. Would people be kind to her. Would she know love and protection or bullying and taunting? Would she know fun and laughter or would she be left out?
Being September, I was working in the garden when, around 4:30 she jumped off the bus and ran to tell me about her day. We chatted for a bit and then she said, “Dad? What’s a prick?”
My world began to tilt. ‘My child, my dear, dear child. Corrupted on her very first day at school.’
As I pulled up corn stocks to deplete huge amounts of adrenalin surging through my body, I began this long song and dance about, “Well honey that’s what some people call a penis and it’s really not a very polite word to use and, and - where did you hear that word?”
“We watched a movie called Sleeping Beauty and the woman pricked her finger . . .”
After thirty years of parenting (we still have two 8-year-olds, two 7-year-olds and one 4-year-old), I can safely advise, “Don’t panic. Find some corn stalks to pull and keep it simple.”