I was watching “My Wife and Kids” and the son (I don’t know any of the characters’ names, sorry) was refusing to attend a wedding with his family. His reason? He didn’t like how his dad took liberty of calling him names in front of their extended family.
It made me think about how words just slip through our lips without careful consideration for 1)how they’re received, and 2)how others hear it and see the person saying it.
As a parent, I struggle with not saying anything dumb around The Kid. Or not calling her names. Is it easy? Um, hell no. Am I trying? Hell yes!
I don’t want The Kid to be afraid to talk to me (or her dad) about anything, no matter how dumb or embarrassing it might be. I want her to feel comfortable enough to talk to me about that boy she’s crushing on, or how she hates how her jeans make her butt look too big, or ask me what it’s like to be in love. I want her to know that she can talk to me without running the risk of being called a name. I don’t want to be the last one to find out about something that I could have helped her with. I don’t want to chase her away or make her feel like she’s not good enough, smart enough, brave enough.
I don’t want to be overwhelmingly degrading that she hates me.
I don’t think I could live with that.
So here’s to getting better at thinking carefully before I talk to her. Here’s to listening better so I hear the whole story and respond correctly. Here’s to building relationship with The Kid that will last until I take my last breath. Here’s to a relationship that she’ll be proud to say she was a part of.
Here’s to better parenting and less degradation between parents and their child.