My son is a rather seasoned traveler for a seven year old. He has been round the world from Japan to Australia to Italy to Curacao. He has gone cross country through Canada as well as through 20 states in the United States.He understands how flights and hotels function. He charms everyone in his path. He knows how to order room service, use key cards and order Uber. He quickly learns the shuttle schedules and hotel restaurant scripts and norms.Overall, he is a savvy traveler.
Despite his savviness out on the road, he still has some travel blindspots. One night, while in South Africa, I was getting ready to take a shower. I grabbed my towel and turned to my son. I noted I was about to shower and that, of course, he was not to open the door to anyone. My seven year old son smiled, nodded his head and signaled his understanding. Which he then followed up with noting that he would not open the door to anyone unless it was the lady that brought the chocolates.
He had gotten so used to the turndown service where chocolates are distributed, that he didn’t perceive such a person to be a stranger to avoid. I immediately corrected that perception and understanding of his. But I was left shaking my head. Do you know the “landshark” Saturday night life skit? If possible, check it out.
My son is growing up to be trusting. He trusts people overall. He doesn’t see menace. He doesn’t see trickery. He learns a script and a norm and believes because things happen that they are right. It’s a beautiful youthful perspective with which to approach the world. I felt a little bad telling him that he couldn’t just automatically trust the chocolate lady. He had already accepted chocolates. Thus why couldn’t he let her in if I am indisposed.
Its moments like those that we burst our children’s bubble of naivete. Its a small, extremely minor moment. However, it sets the path for them to begin being skeptical and discerning. That veil of innocent begins chipping away. Before you know it. You are sending them off your college where you hope theirtheir sense of skepticism becomes fully formed. By not opening the door to the chocolate lady, I have started that journey of letting him go.