Friday, October 19, 2007

The Truth about Happiness

My eyes nervously scan the display of brightly colored pictures. An attractive bulletin board display of kids’ artwork, highlighting their Second Steps curriculum about feelings.

What makes you happy?” chirps the title above the board.

I see a few pictures, mostly drawn in pink or green, showing stick people and flowers, authored by Megans and Amelias and Annas, that say things like “I’m happy when my mom hugs me” or “I’m happy when I’m with my family.” But somehow, my eyes are magnetically drawn (by the Force, possibly?) to a picture drawn in yellow crayon in the center of the display.
“I’m happy when my mom takes me to a Star Wars parade.” By Lance.

(photo coming soon)

Nice. His happiness is based on a lie, since he’s never been to a parade, let alone a Star Wars parade. I just remembered he saw some people in Star Wars costumes on tv in the Rose Parade last year, so I have to come clean--it's not a complete lie.

His last drawing was “I’m scared of thunder and lightning,” which was reasonable, if somewhat exaggerated. But I have seen that his favorite book is “Attack of the Clones” and I was briefly afraid that his choice for “Where would you like to eat green eggs and ham?” was “With Darth Vader.” Luckily, someone else beat him to it.

Quickly, I search for the only thing that will keep me from falling to my knees, wailing and gnashing my teeth. Aha! “Transformers make me happy.” By one of Lance’s friends, of course a boy. And even better, from the famous you-have-to-wear-cool-clothes-to-be-my-friend boy: “I’m happy when my mom buys me Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Zurg toys.” And last but not least, “I’m happy when I get to be a pirate at school.” Lance just finished telling me that it was “very important” to that boy that he wore a belt every day and his pirate bandana. I can just imagine the morning getting dressed battles in that house.

Redemption! It’s not my parenting problem, it’s that darn Y chromosome. I guess I should be happy I made it on the picture at all—at least I took him to the parade. I’ll just have to wait on Audrey for the hugs and flowers of happiness. And on a positive note, the picture was wonderful – lots of little alien and starship-looking circles with legs and wings, and I’m sure “shooter guns.” But at least he’s using his imagination and his crayons. Maybe I could use a little Jedi mind trick on him one of these days.

No comments: