Much of parenting is an illusion, one that starts with the children’s belief in parents’ omnipotence. + + + When I was in elementary school, my dad was the world’s greatest mechanic. He could fix a flat tire on my bicycle with ease. His strong fingers and hairy forearms would silently maneuver this way and that, projecting an air of competence and security that enveloped me. When I was in middle school, my dad pulled open the “way back” door of our rusty, wood-paneled station wagon and it fell right off our car in the middle of a crowded parking lot. I burned with embarrassment as my … [Read more...]
When we see our children experiencing something other than joy, we almost immediately want to change their dial to sunshine and smiles. However, it is important to let kids ride it out.
* * *Emotions are a complicated thing. We all have them, we recognize them in each other, and yet they remain relative and subjective. No matter our basis of empathy or the pulls of sympathy, we can never truly know exactly what it is that another person is feeling. We can only relate to the labels that we have all agreed on. Considering that, when discussing emotions … [Read more...]
My 14-year-old daughter and I were chatting at dinner the other night, and I was getting my daily news roundup about her day: school, friends, teachers, whatnot. In the course of our conversation, I asked how her friend Abby was doing. When I did, my daughter leveled me with a stern, reprimanding look. Now that we’re into the teen years, I get that look a lot. It usually means I’ve said or done something irretrievably dumb. “What?” I asked. “Do you realize what you just said?” she asked with a frown. “What? What did I say?” “You referred to them as ‘she.’” “Them who? I was … [Read more...]
A friend of mine from college was in town so I messaged him immediately to if he’d have time to get together. It was great seeing him again because it brought back some great memories and encouraged me about today’s young people. For the record, I feel like I’m 90 years old when I write ‘today’s young people,’ but in this context it’s true. My friend’s son is in his senior year of high school. My kids are 3 and 5. I don’t feel like an old dad, but suddenly, seeing a good friend from college talking about his life and what he does as a dad made me feel weird. Having a child forces you to … [Read more...]