Rushing On My Run

With a 7-year-old, I try to let him lead the conversation into what he wants to know while also telling him what I want him to know. It’s hard to get the balance right. This was our conversation this morning as we were getting ready to leave for school:
D: Mom, who is that Janis lady in that picture?
Me: That’s Janis Joplin. She was a tremendous rock and blues singer. One of the best that’s ever lived and one of my all-time favorites.
D: It says on the picture she died that day. Did she die right after that picture?
Me: No, that was backstage after she had given a concert, she went to her hotel after that and that was where she died.
D: Was she dying right when that picture was taking?
Me: (thinking) Well, in a way, yes. She didn’t take very good care of herself, so she was more likely to die young. But in the picture, she is just tired, and maybe a little sad, but not actively dying.
D: How did she die?
Me: She took drugs, and died as a result of taking them.
D: Why did she take them?
Me: A friend of hers gave them to her and told her they would make her feel better, but obviously that was a bad idea. Sometimes people around you have good intentions but bad ideas. 
D: How old was she?
Me: 27.
D: (thinks) I’m never taking drugs.
I sure hope not, kid.
We listened to Janis on the way to school this morning and I told him a little more about her on our journey.
I’ll save the factoid about Mom singing once with Janis’ band until he’s had a chance to watch a few videos of her and BBHC.
We’ll delve more into the drugs thing when it seems like a good time. If there even is a good time. I’m less worried about scaring him or freaking him out than I am telling him stuff too young for him to retain or to be able to handle the information correctly, since his friends are constantly in competition about everything – knowledge, sports facts, who is quickest in turning in a test, who knows more about ocean animals. I’d rather not tell him stuff that’s going to spark a conversation about drugs and get him and his friends in trouble. Hell, it’s only been a month since he was in the principal’s office because he and another friend used the F word at the lunch table.
He’s growing up so fast.

4 thoughts on “Rushing On My Run

  1. That entire VU album is a masterpiece. I love having conversations with my kids about stuff like that. Our eldest sat and listened to “Candle in the Wind” one night, and asked all sorts of questions about Marilyn. At the other end of the scale, middle daughter (aged about 4) watched half of the Superman movie before announcing “he is wearing all blue!”.

    • It might be time to show the kid the original Superman. I tried when he was a bit younger but it couldn’t hold his attention as there is a lot of talking/exposition before the guy starts flying around.

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