The other day Jack and I were on our way home from school. Jack was in deep thought. I was wondering what he was thinking.
Jack: How come parents get to tell us EVERYthing to do all the time?
me: Well, we are in charge of keeping you safe until you get old enough to take care of yourself.
Jack: I can take care of myself. I buckled my own seat belt. Remember?
me: There's a lot more to learn even on top of seatbelts.
Jack: But how come you're the boss of everything??
me: I'm not actually the boss of everything. You're the boss of your own mind.
Jack: (silence while he ponders this with a furrowed brow.) How is that even possible!
me: I can't stop you from thinking anything you want to think.
me: Here let's try. I do NOT want you to think about a furry brown dog. Do NOT think about that. Okay, are you thinking about it?
Jack: (giggling) Yes! I can still think that even though you're telling me not to. Cool!
me: And, if you are thinking about misbehaving, you can just think about it instead of doing it. Then you won't get in trouble.
Jack: Here let me try it. Do not think about that white house over there! Don't do it!
me: See? I am thinking about it. It's fun!
(later we were in the kitchen and I brought it up again)
me: Remember, you're the boss of your own thoughts and no one can ever stop you from thinking what you want. You can pretend to be anything you want at any time. No one even has to know that you're thinking anything. They might just think that you're ---
Jack: (interrupts me) Guess what? I'm thinking something right now!
Jack: (spells it out) S-H-U-T U-P. (then walks out of the room)