Why do I Look Like Dad?

Posted by Lakshmi Gopal on Thu, Jan 20, 2011  
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On a regular weekday, my 8-year-old walked into the kitchen as I busily hustled up breakfast and said, ‘I understand that I popped out of your tummy in the hospital, and that makes me your son. But how come I’m daddy’s son too? He’s only the bothersome guy who married you!’


I was half-amused, trying to grapple with the situation.


This was not the first time my little one, studying in the third grade, had asked me this – and I had, on all the previous occasions, given him many evasive replies,


‘You are daddy’s son because we prayed together for you,’ or,


‘You are daddy’s son because he loves you and you look like him.’ (…Oops!)


To which he said, ‘But why do I look like him?’


‘Because you have his genes… er… cells,’ I offered.


‘But how did I get his cells? I came out of your tummy, didn’t I?’ he persisted.


This had gone on for quite some time until my son was sure I was hiding something important. That morning, I decided that I had to tell him the truth from the right perspective and give him a life skill education (sex education) in as academic a manner as I could.


I explained to him how plants reproduced as they were stationary, and how animals reproduced as they moved from one place to another. I also told him that there were egg-laying animals and baby-producing animals, and that we humans belonged to that part of the animal kingdom which had little babies.


I told him how nature had given every living organism a unique body structure to be able to reproduce its own kind in every generation, and that life existed in order to create and re-create itself, and evolve into newer forms.


I shared with him my childhood days, when I had the same questions as he had. I was studying in the fifth grade and we witnessed a presentation in the school auditorium made by a multinational that sells hygeine products. I told him how my teachers and my mom had completed my understanding of life.


He was clearly enlightened and this sharing of knowledge without the feeling of shame or embarrassment has made him a confident little boy. He has since, been very open with me, telling me about his friends, teachers, his opinions on issues (and non-issues), etc.


He did not, moreover, go around seeking information from other sources or unnecessarily sharing the information he had received. Also, I noticed, he did not giggle or smirk during the discussion.


My son is now, almost a teenager. He communicates in a frank, straightforward manner with everyone around him and is not afraid to show his feelings.


He is not inordinately inquisitive on the topic of girls or sex and has a healthy, respectful and holistic view of life.


In other words, he is a cool dude!


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