Sunday, November 18, 2012

a morally humbling experience

Josh's version fo crossing his eyes!
We went to visit J&C in Seattle last weekend (thanks to J&C for a night of JoshieAves-sitting and allowing us to have a night out!).

Night-out aside, we all went for dinner one night in Seattle’s chinatown. Like chinatown in most cities, it’s never an area that has the safest “feel” to it. When we came out from dinner, it was pouring out and we were trying to get organized with cars and who was parked where, etc. Amidst the confusion, a street person walked up to us and asked for any spare change or any food. The guy was soaking wet, very unfortunate looking and he said he was hungry. We were trying to get organized and get out of the rain so, as usual, we said, “No, sorry.” and tried to hurry away.

As we were walking away, Josh asked me, “Mommy, how come we didn’t give that guy money or food?”. 

Seriously?! I’m going to be morally judged by a 6-year-old?!

Before I could say anything, Josh said, “Is it because he’s a stranger?”

I was tempted to say yes and end the conversation there, but then I didn’t want him to be left thinking that we never give money to strangers (don’t ask me why, but somehow, that felt like it could backfire on me eventually!). So, I went through a long-winded explanation about when we don’t know people and we give them money, we don’t know if they are going to spend it on what they tell us they are going to spend it on. They might spend it on “bad” things. Man, I was seriously challenged when discussing why we do or don’t give street people money!

Josh seemed ok with this, but, of course, his morally-judged mom didn’t. So, I asked Josh if he would feel better if we went back to the guy and gave him a dollar and made sure we told him to spend it on food. Josh liked that idea, so that’s what we did.

Unfortunately, when we went back, we couldn’t find the guy. We looked up and down the block and the guy had disappeared.

It seemed that Josh felt better that we tried. On our way back to find the group, Josh asked me, “Mommy, can I keep the dollar?”. Ha! Crazy kid. I told him it was Uncle J’s dollar and he had to ask Uncle J (knowing full well that Uncle J would say yes!).

But then he followed up that question with, “Mommy, what are “bad” things that the guy could spend the money on?”. Are you kidding me, kid?!

Scrambling for an answer that didn’t involve explaining sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, the first thing that popped to mind was what I blurted, “Toys.”

Hahaha. “It’s bad to spend money on toys if you’re hungry. Because you can’t eat your toys.”

Phew. Josh seemed satisfied with that answer. For now.

Keep in mind that during dinner that night, Josh followed up our Thanksgiving chicken conversation when the steamed crab was served. He said, “I don’t think that crab wanted to be killed.” Sigh.

Why does it feel like we have some sort of activist in the making?!

1 comment:

Darren Bockman said...

"I don’t think that crab wanted to be killed" LOL