Have you ever heard a large group of kindergarteners eating? Seems that this age is just getting to where they’re enjoying words, so they start making up their own. Each child trys to top the previous made-up word in silliness, and pretty soon, the whole table is laughing and talking nonsense.
I’m at a loss to explain why this happens at mealtime. What is is about milk gurgling in the mouth that makes “poofiecookiecarpet” hilarious? I’m also at a loss in responding to my four and five year olds (and to a lesser extent my imitative two year old) because of some internal conflict: I want mealtimes to be happy times, but I also want them to use good manners and actually eat.
And, as it happens, the most effective humor (for this age) seems to be when some forbidden word is “accidentally” created. We’ve already said that potty talk is out of bounds, and yesterday I had to explain to David that he could make up silly words, but that God’s name wasn’t something he could be silly about. Even now, it’s like we’re defining the biblical limits of humor– appropriateness in what we say, when we say it, how it affects others.
That’s another lesson. Last night on the way to church, David and Bethel were making up names to call their friends at church. It was silly and not at all malicious, but I suspect some friends wouldn’t appreciate being called Suzymagillicuddy. I didn’t say anything. I just thought about it. It may need to be addressed in the future.
Now I want to think about it more clearly and biblically. I’ve offered guidance, but I want to think it through and see if I’m responding correctly. In particular, I want to think about the silliness at the table and how I can best respond to it.
No answers today. Just questions.