“…. and then, you know what, the monster came and said, “I am going to eat up your sandwich”, and I said, “No, no, no. you cannot eat my sandwich. Please don’t eat my sandwich.”. But the monster, he did not listen, and he grabbed my sandwich, and I tried to pull it from him, and the sandwich fell down, and it fell on my leg. And you know what, thousands of germs went from my leg to the sandwich, and started eating it, and …..”
I was struggling to keep the smile off my face as my nearly-six year old launched into a long story on how the sandwich that he should have consumed came to find itself on the floor. “… and Mamma, now the sandwich is full of germs. If I eat it, I will fall ill. So I cannot eat it”,he said, before concluding triumphantly, “and now that I have finished my snack, can I watch TV?”
It was a difficult decision to make. On the one hand, I did not want to appear a pushover and allow my son to get away without finishing his snack yet again. But, didn’t his last-ditch creative effort deserve some credit?
“Okay”, I said finally. “Today, you may watch TV. But the next time that monster troubles you, call me before he does so much damage, okay?”
“I love you, Mamma”, he squealed rushing off to claim his reward. But he had the presence of mind to pop his head around the door, “but if it is another monster, I will not tell you, okay?”
I know I should be a stricter mother. I know I should enforce rules better. I am sure other mothers would have nipped it in the bud,and ensured their kids did not walk over them. But, in addition to being a mother, I am a reader and a writer, and I can’t help being impressed by the stories my son spins. If I cut his stories short, wouldn’t I also be killing creativity and stifling imagination. Discipline is necessary, but doesn’t the world need writers and other storytellers as much as it requires the people who keep the machinery of life running?
My son may or may not grow up to become a writer, but at least his imagination will ensure that he is never lonely or sad.