We occasionally have grand-kids visit us for a few days…..there was a request to watch the Pinocchio movie. I also sat to watch it….in between napping.
The next morning, I asked these three what they thought the movie was about? Two said “don’t lie or your nose gets longer”, and one said “do what you’re told”. Interestingly, it was the older one who said “do what you’re told”. I suppose most kids just think getting a big nose is what you get for lying. Do they really relate telling a lie to consequences? Kids soon learn they can lie without getting a big nose. And yet, there is the subtle inflection that “trusting” can get you into trouble. A couple of things come to mind….
We used to live in a little bedroom community in northern Indiana. At the corner of Keilman and no-where, we local kids waited for school bus. I think I remember this as second grade. Second grade was an anomaly, it began in a fire station at a neighboring town and in mid-year moved to the upper floor of the fire station in my home town. Actually, the upstairs held both 2nd and 3rd grade in the same room. Anyway, we were standing at the Keilman corner, six or 7 of us waiting for the bus. And up comes this car, I can still see the driver, I was the closest to the car, he opened the passenger door and is leaning over the seat, and says “the bus is broken down and the driver told me to take you school.” I was trusting enough to head for the car….any remembrances of warnings were NO WHERE in my memory. Where do those things go? They’re pounded in our heads all the time. It must have fallen out. One of girls yells.. “here comes the bus!!!” The car takes off, leaving me standing there, wondering what happened? Actually the bus wasn’t in sight. When it did arrive the kids told the bus driver about the car and I just sheepishly got on the bus and didn’t say anything.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of not wanting your peers do know you have limitations. As a junior in high school, I got a part in the junior play. The junior play was something we did for a one night presentation to earn money to cover the cost of the Junior/Senior Prom. This year, as an indicator of what could be achieved, we got the opportunity to visit the high school at Fowler, Indiana. Their class was putting on a musical, the King and I. It was a rarity, that I was able to talk my parents into letting me drive let alone to the play. I was able to take one friend with me, Alan, and ONLY one friend. Word got out that I was driving, and two girls asked if they could ride along. Wow, two girls wanted to go with me (or us)…. Now, Pinocchio, what do you do? I could say, “I’m sorry, but mommy and daddy, said I wasn’t allowed to take anyone else, OR, I could say, SURE!” You guessed it, sure was what blurted out…after all, who would know? But, as soon as I told Alan, that two girls were coming along, he remembered Geppetto’s words. He changed his mind, and then the next thing I know, another guy was coming….how do I get out of this? I know—— just don’t say a word!
Things went well, I picked up the kids at our high school and off we went, what a good play, BUT right in the middle at terrible thunder-storm hit……..naturally, a storm just had to spring up on this night, and what to do parents do….worry the whole time you’re a way, especially with a storm!!!! I got everyone home safely, and as I got home, my parents were waiting up for me…….”where have you been?” they say. Now, I know, the ‘nose won’t grow’, “at the play”, says I. “Who with?” they say. I should have seen it coming…..but I didn’t.. “Alan.” “No you weren’t, we called Alan’s house and he was home, he didn’t go with you.” I know my nose didn’t grow, but my face got red…..I was sunk, grounded for 20 years! Why is it that parents don’t understand, that you would like your friends to not say, “your just a child.”
I bet if I look around, I’d find the Pinocchio Syndrome followed me into adulthood…..then again, I think I’d feel better if I don’t look for it……….