Eight years ago our Pook was born. He was a mild baby. He didn’t fuss. He always fell right to sleep when I held my hand gently on his forehead. When he was awake, he calmly, often without expression, watched his world. I thought he would be a shy, quiet thinker.
But he’s not like that at all. He is a great ball of passion. He is loving and full up with compassion. When he plays the piano, which he does at all hours of the day, I’m filled with wonder. He can be noodling on the piano, his fingers instinctively knowing where to find melody and, at the same time, be looking at and chatting with whomever is in the room. It’s as if he exists on two separate planes. At once, he is on the spirit-creator plane and the plane of our hard edged world. He’s divided and yet perfectly unified.
And he can loudly indignant when presented with what he perceives as injustice.
A few days ago, while walking to Lake Nokomis for a swim, Pook decried a message written in chalk on the path. It read Girls Rule!
“That’s just wrong!” he said, “Everyone is equal!”
“They should be.” I said.
I understood his affront. Terry, his dad, suffered a similar affront when he was about ten or eleven. At his sister’s school, Regina, they were recreating the 1972 album “Free to be You and Me”, which promoted gender equality and the idea that everyone should be true to themselves and their own unique identities. It still rankles Terry that he couldn’t go to that school. It seemed like a fun school. It was closer to home. But it was girls only.
Pook knows about inequality. He knows about injustices. If he hears me mutter under my breath, “That’s disgusting.” or “That’s ridiculous.” he comes running, as if lassoed, to find out what’s going on.
When we talked about the legislators in Texas restricting a woman’s right to govern her body as she sees fit, I didn’t mention that tampons were confiscated instead of guns. Like the Texas legislators, he wouldn’t understand what tampons are used for because he doesn’t know about the reproductive cycles of women.
When we talked about Trayvon Martin being shot, he said, “Why do people kill?”
Pook always gives me a platform and I said, “I suppose it has something to do with how we define ourselves, our self image. And fear. But I don’t know. I’ve never wanted to kill anyone.”
Maybe I said more. Maybe not. But it got me thinking that We ARE sheep and we are supposed to live in community but we don’t have to give up thinking on our own. That’s the great thing about being human. We get to do that.
And self image is just that- an image. By defining ourselves by where we live, what we wear, how we speak, we inadvertently or purposefully pass judgement on others. To kill, first you have to judge.
Pook and I talked about Edward Snowden, too. I’m sure I said, “I wish him safe passage and a safe haven.” And I might have said, “People need privacy because we live in a world with many stones.” And I thought but didn’t say, “Governments aren’t people and should be like shiny glass houses, unable to cause great, secret harm.
Why was I talking to a seven year old about these things? Why will I talk to him about similar things now that he’s eight? Because he questions and questions and questions and will repeat the questions if he gets a brush-off answer. And I love him for it. Happy birthday my tender hearted rebel.