The Stories We Tell Children

snake in the room

In the corner of our dining area is a door with a broken lock. I’ve stuck a red plastic bag inside the hole where the lock used to be, and put a couple of plastic stools in front to casually suggest it’s a no-go-zone.

The space behind the door belongs to our landlord who uses it for storage. I’ve never been inside, looked inside, or had any desire to check out someone else’s junk — but then again I’m not a 10 year boy.

When the landlord told me (after losing his key to the room and breaking the lock) that he would no longer be locking it — I did mention that I couldn’t guarantee Jerry wouldn’t try to get in. After all telling 10 year olds not to go in rooms is akin to lighting them up like an airport runway and then guiding in the plane.

snake in the room

So I did laugh — after our landlord’s most recent visit to find an old certificate in ‘the room’– when Jerry told me told me very earnestly that he wasn’t to go into that room Tita Mel.

“There is a snake in that room Tita Mel and if I go in there, the snake will bite me.”

Jerry is still at that delightful age where he believes all things adults tell him and still capable of being hoodwinked by a snake yarn. I do love the way the snake story transcends ages and cultures, and am certain parents have been telling children all over the world for thousands and thousands of years: stay away from my stuff — there’s a snake.

One response to “The Stories We Tell Children”

  1. […] days ago about the stories we tell children to persuade them into varying behaviours — like inventing a snake to keep them out of a spare room. Now I’ve got to tell him a new and important story, so he […]