Autumn 2016


The Apostle of Temperance


'Why have you decided to smoke?' asks me five years old boy, my friend's son. 


'I don't remember why, it's been a long time ago. I'd like to change my mind though' I tell him.

'Before I was in mammy's belly and my brother was on a cloud, my mammy smoked also. But then one day, she decided not to. Maybe you can smoke less and less, and one day just stop?' he says.

'Maybe you right. Perhaps I should try' I say. I can't believe the seriousness of this conversation.

'Try', steps in his brother, who is three years of age. 'It might work. And if it won't, it won't', he says in tone which suggests that it would be okay, too.

'If it won't work, maybe you can try some other way', persists five years old.

'Like what? Do you know?' I ask.

'I don't know right away. But I'll think about it' he replies.


Their mum takes them to bed. I go outside for a cigarette.



'How did he managed to formulate the question this way?' I ask my friend afterwards.

'Because we raise them this way' she smiles. 'We tell them people make choices, and they must be respected, no matter the story. Of course, it is a great challenge to explain to such age kids the difference between their mum having an odd glass of wine with dinner, and a homeless man, each evening walking the city in zigzags , talking language unknown', she spreads caramel on a slice of toast and gives it to me.

My god. They teach the boys not to judge.

'You told them you use to smoke?' I ask her, a little surprised. 'You smoked two cigarettes a year, like.'

'But I did, didn't I?'


'I don't want to shock the boys, by revealing the truth about myself ten years down the road, like our parents have done', she reminds.

Yes. I understand. And I am grateful, for this parenting class just on time.


In any given moment we are given two options: to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety.

-Abraham Maslow