This is about another person’s temptation, a very little person.
I was getting some provisions in between snowstorms and was riding up and down the aisles of a large grocery store in one of those electric carts. I had paused to read some labels. Around the corner in front of me come a mom and her little boy. He was inquisitive and as we made eye contact there was a connection. We exchanged smiles and to my surprise he walked right up to me. To my double surprise he started leaning in. Ah, that was it. He was drawn to the on/off button of the cart which was glowing red. He pointed his finger at it making sure I was still smiling, which I was. The mom picked up on it and didn’t intervene. He pushed the button off. We each grinned even more. He apparently was in the early stages of learning to talk as his mom said, “Can you say hi?” He declined to do so but started flipping the switch on, off, on, off, playing it like a video game. This darling little rascally man made my day and I’ve been smiling every time I think of it.
I’ve been trying to come up with some words of wisdom about temptation but didn’t come up with anything too profound. When we are little and learning about the world just about everything we see, hear, taste and touch arouses curiosity. Temptation to interact and learn is the next obvious step. Perhaps that’s not the right word for it. If someone has warned us off and we still want to do so, that would be temptation. The dictionary says temptation’s a strong urge or desire to have or do something and especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise. So there is no sin until there is a rule to be broken. My little lad was interacting with the unknown in a safe environment. Something about his nanosecond of hesitation led me to believe he at least had a sneaking suspicion he was doing something wrong, hence the wicked grin. I hope he learned that sometimes strangers can be cool. When we lay a heavy load of dos and don’ts on kids we intend it for their own good, but maybe sometimes we are too quick to speak and should let them figure some stuff out from the natural consequences.
Having raised my own two rascally men I can assure you the mom was breathing a sigh of relief that you were cool about her son”s temptation. What a charming and innocent moment. Made me smile, thanks for sharing.
I love your conclusion that we tend to treat children’s natural curiosity about the world as something forbidden, even if we are trying to shield them from harm. We have certainly set things up so that exploration, a kid’s default setting, is not easy for them. Nice going!