I decided to go back to being a nanny because it meant I wouldn’t have to learn anything new. It wouldn’t be intellectually challenging and it wouldn’t really require me to acquire any skills or knowledge I didn’t already have. For me, working with children is easy. While you get to be as creative as you want, I’ve been doing it for so long it’s often mindless.
Tonight I found myself in a conversation with a nine year old that really made me think. Sitting on the couch in the loft, she was decorating my nails while I asked her about her day. She replies, “it was good, but my best friend lied to me and it really hurt my feelings. I cried the whole time at lunch because that’s my best friend and that’s not how she is supposed to treat me.” She was referring to the same best friend that is over everyday and who had been over this afternoon, jumping around practicing dances and cheers with her. I reply, “oh, it looked like you girls were fine earlier.” Her, “I was just acting that way, but that doesn’t mean it still didn’t hurt me.” I told her that I’m sorry for the way she was feeling and that she should never lie because it’s a bad way to act, and I hope this taught her that. And of course she questions, “Well, have you ever told a lie? Like one that was really bad?”
You can’t just tell a kid one thing without a “why” or a “what” or a “how come” following. So of course, as I attempted to tell her a very simplified story of a lie, she kept prying and prying.
Who did you lie to?
More than once?
Was he mad?
….He was the kind of mad where it feels like maybe you’re also sad
Why did you do that?
….its complicated when you’re an adult.
Why is it complicated if you knew that a lie hurts?
Why are some things so simple and obvious yet when we’re adults we’re willing to make excuse after excuse to justify what is wrong. To her it is black and white. Grey is not an option. It does not exists. It’s wrong or it’s right. Maybe I do have something to learn from this job.