Once, Booger (7-year old) asked me what a dirty finger is.
I said, "Um... A finger that touched dust?" Or something more unoriginal. "When you play in the mud and you wash up but forgot to wash your finger?"
I've been a coach for teenage girls and gays for some years. A main issue that we study is the body and sexuality. I'm acutely aware of how we are conditioned by society - starting from our childhood - that our bodies are filthy and bad. Later on in our lives this misconception about our bodies causes complications. I don't think it's a good idea to continue this concept among our young ones.
7year old raises his middle finger. "Why is this a bad finger?"
Huh? What did your finger do that made it bad?
When you point that middle finger up, does it steal, cheat, or kill people?
Look at it. What is it, really?
"Just a hand."
Right. It's a part of your body. I don't know why people call body parts bad when these are... just body parts. They don't harm, so I don't see the point why they're bad.
I told him that a raised middle finger is a sign for a penis. And I ask him the same questions.
Are penises bad?
"I don't know."
does it steal, cheat, or kill people?
So is it bad?
He looks at me and doesn't answer.
It's also a body part. It isn't bad unless we decide to do something bad with it. But then again, the badness comes from the decision and action, not the actual body part.
After that, 8-yo will manage to insert into conversations an assortment of related "bad body part" questions.
I can only answer the same things again and again. I roll my eyes a little at the situations when other children bring this to 8-yo's attention.
I hope that with repetition, my son will evetually get that his body parts (and others' as well) are not dirty.
Unless he rolls in the mud, of course.
Originally posted 23 January 2008