This was the question my 7 year old son asked me not too long ago. I’ve corrected his pronunciation of the word cigarettes a couple of times but seagrets is still how he says it. Smoking is foreign to him. He has seen advertisements about how harmful it is for people and we’ve come across cigarette butts on the ground when we’ve gone for walks around our neighborhood.
His question reminded me of the Apostle Paul’s words in the book of Romans. I am paraphrasing here. Why do I keep doing what I know I shouldn’t do?
I explained to my son that cigarettes are addictive. (I had to explain what addictive meant to him, as well.) I told him that some people don’t understand how addictive they are and when they try to stop smoking it is much harder than they thought it would be. Then, I shared with him the same advice my dad once shared with me about drinking and smoking.
If you don’t start, you will never have to stop. (I sure wish I’d listened to my good ol’ dad, but that’s another POST.)
Smoking seagrets (I love his word) is just one example of something people might choose to do knowing it is not healthy for them. Humans are guilty of making choices like this everyday…big choices and small choices.
We eat food that is clearly unhealthy, despite knowing it clogs our arteries and may eventually cause us to have a heart attack.
We stay up way past our normal bedtime, knowing what the consequences will be the next morning.
We sit on our couch or in front of our computer instead of exercising, even though we know the benefits of exercising.
We settle for relationships that are verbally, emotionally or physically abusive, even though deep down we know that no human deserves to be treated the way we are being treated.
We choose to do things that are not in our best interest all the time.
I love how this behavior still baffles my 7 year old son. He can’t wrap his head around why people would deliberately choose to engage in something where the unhealthy is so obvious. His child brain puts things into specific categories. Things still fit nicely into one column or the other…good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy, smart or stupid.
There seems to be less gray area in a child’s mind…less excuses and less justifications.
Perhaps, we could learn a lesson or two from our children.