My parents used scare tactics on me when I was a child and, given my genetic propensity toward anxiety, it probably wasn’t the wisest method of child-rearing in retrospect.
Take, for example, the story that inspired this post:
At a mere five years old, I made frequent, albeit unsuccessful, attempts to scale our kitchen counters. I was almost tall enough to see all the little trinkets and assorted kitchen tools that my parents kept up there and at times the anticipation of my potential discoveries was too much to bear. Finally, the day came when I was tall enough; I would able to reach the top of those previously-daunting counters and explore the world inhabited exclusively by my parents. It was upon completing my climb to the top of the counters when I discovered it.
It was a simple brown jar of about three inches in height, with a tiny spoon laying at its side. Upon climbing to the top of Mt. Counter, it was that jar that I suddenly wanted to open more than anything else. It was the jar that housed my mom’s sweet addition to her morning cup of coffee: powdered creamer. While I can’t recall whether I snuck the first taste for myself or if my mom was the enabler, I do know that once the powdered creamer touched my lips, it was like crack and I was the addict. At night, I would sneak into the kitchen with the stealth of a mini-ninja, just so I could down spoonfuls of it; all the while, I was wishing that I was an adult so that I could have entire meals fashioned out of this utterly amazing substance.
Just with all mischievous children, my actions caught up with me one fateful day and my mom caught me in the act. On that day, my powdered creamer addiction came to a sudden, alarming end; it was also on that day that I had the fear of god instilled in me. My mother informed me that eating too much of this delicious substance that was surely heaven-sent would cause me to have a heart attack!
I remember thinking, “She’s my mom, and if my mom is telling me not to eat this, then she must know what she’s talking about. There’s no way my mother would ever lie, especially not to me.”
Oh, to once again have the naivety of a child, if for only one day; just imagine how different the world would be.
You have to at least give parental credit for being clever. And this isn’t really even clever; I’ve got better stories than this to share.