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Family valued - 3.1.06 

Naked trolls and near-death

We here at the Family Valued executive washroom, microwave kitchen, and unified pressroom have randomly selected a 10-year-old from among the one immediately available.

So, what have you been reading lately?


What is that?

It's the latest book written by Terry Pratchett. It's funny fantasy. He is a very good writer from Britain. The other ones I remember are Truckers, about these teeny little people who live inside this store. Wee Free Men is about a witch who realizes that there are little blue people that live in this hill and are a bit smaller.

He seems to have a thing about little people.

Yes, I'm not sure why.

"Thud!" seems like a very big book.

Yes, it's the biggest book I've ever read by myself. I wanted to know what happened and things did happen and it was fun. The Discworld series has a very good creation myth: like some Godly figure made this turtle and its four elephant bothers and they jumped up on its back and its ectoplasm jumped up and formed the world. It was something like that. Every book he tells about different people. Thud! is about the Watch in Ankh-Morpork, a city in Discworld. They're kind of police. Trolls don't usually wear clothes. I guess clothes are not a troll-y thing. Death always appears in all of his books at least once. He has to in every book. He just does.

So you're reading about death.

It isn't exactly. He's a character. Death said that Vimes (Commander of the Watch) was having a near-death experience and Death was having a near-Vimes experience.

Would you recommend the book?

Yes, I would. It has humor and adventure.

--- Craig Brownlie


It's a basic philosophical problem. We base our actions on a reality that is subjective, created by our perceptions. For young children this leads to conflicts between their internal, magical world of imagination and our more rational one. Kids believe that they can make their imagined realities come true. "Blue Bear ate the cookies, not me!" "My toys play with me." It takes years for kids to reconcile these conflicts. As they are with all behaviors, kids are testing boundaries: to learn what lies are and how they work... or don't.

Parents often ask what to do as their kids start lying. Should we demand, "Don't lie!" Should we wash their mouths out with soap? Should we put them in time out? Should we indulge them and let them embellish their stories? The challenge for parents is to help kids learn to buy our reality, our version of "The Truth," without losing hold of the creative power of their imaginations.

The answer is trust. Rather than accusing kids of lying, simply tell them, "I don't believe you," then act accordingly. Wait for the kid to figure out a face-saving way to be honest with themselves, then us. At issue is the young person's learning to find their own truth to develop a trusting relationship. They need to run up against their parents' integrity and meaningful representation of the rational world. Of course we continue to nurture our kids' creativity... and always tell them the truth.

--- LaurenceI.Sugarman, MD

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