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Who Taught Him That?

Who Taught Him That?

One day after church, our family joined another for lunch. As we lingered after the meal, I shared a funny story about my young son.

I had taken the boys to the doctor. As part of the overall physical, the doctor had my five-year-old lie face-down on the table, at which point the doctor gently pushed on my son’s lower back.

The doctor’s efforts were rewarded. His pressure on my son’s back resulted in a release of intestinal pressure. After a sound that out-decibeled any whoopie cushion, the room had a certain lingering reminder of the event. “Well, that works,” I said.

This story, of course, brought much laughter to our after dinner gathering. Someone at the table remarked, “It’s just like when someone says, ‘pull my finger.’”

My son replied, “That doesn’t work you know, I’ve tried it.” Again, we burst out laughing.

My son had no idea what we were laughing at, but that didn’t matter to him. He loved to make people laugh so he was happy to have been the source of merriment. But I was intrigued. The “pull my finger” thing wasn’t something I had ever used, nor was I familiar with any of my family using the joke.

Later I asked him, “Where did you hear that?”  As it turned out, an uncle of his had introduced him to the concept. After that, my son had been a little troubled about the whole situation. It seems he had placed himself in his room and repeatedly pulled on his finger only to be disappointed with the results. He had come to the conclusion his body was defective because the connection between his forefinger and intestinal plumbing was disconnected.

I often think of that situation for two reasons. First, I find it humorous. And second, it reminds me of how often our children take the comments of others to heart. It was a silly situation, but my son thought it was serious and thought he was somehow less than normal because of it.

It reminds me of the importance of retelling our children how special and precious they are to us and to strive to have open communications so we can hear about some of the things their brains are grappling with.

By the way, my son now knows the truth and, if he bids you to pull on his finger, please don’t.

By: Dave Trouten is the married father of two teenage boys and a Division Chair & Professor of Communication at Kingswood University.

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