Ya know I gotta hand it to my kids. Between daycare, school and dealing with parents like me, they must have to have a lot of constraint and will power.
I send my kiddos to school and tell them to be nice, polite and respectful. I tend to believe, especially for kids, that there is true benefit in this. Now keep in mind that I do realize my little angels have bent halos sometimes. There are days that my instructions to them are not coming from a place in me that is being nice, polite and respectful. It’s that old saying, “Do as I say. Not as I do.”
But, for the most part, I come from a long line of kind people. Little bit crazy, but kind all the same. We are honest, responsible, loving, hard-working and for the most part pretty intelligent (threw that one in to make me feel good). How can you go wrong if you follow some pretty simple rules of decency, right?
Well, it’s not that easy to do – being nice all of the time. A lot of work goes into creating people like that. Being “good” so to speak, takes a lot of work, and in some folks’ case, some medication too. There are days when being good is one of the hardest things in the world to do no matter how long you spent in the mirror reciting positive self talk.
Here’s the deal. On most days I believe my kids are the epitome of “good”. It makes me proud and that’s where I’m stopping for an observation. They are crazy, fun and wild for sure…but good all the same. All these years I unfairly have been so proud of myself (well…and David too of course). I’ve told myself that it’s how I’ve taught them. Of course they have other influences too, but they are awesome kids because I’ve raised them to be a certain way. I’m the mom. I rock, right?
What a selfish, selfish thought!
And don’t roll your eyes people, you know that some of you out there take credit for your kids being good too. I say shame on you too. They aren’t dogs reacting to treats. They are human beings that think and act for themselves too.
Don’t get me wrong. It thrills me to death to hear other parents or teachers say that my kids are great. I say the typical, “Thank you.” In some situations, I am thinking in the back of my brain, “Maybe you should teach your kids a little better and someone would tell you that too.” But I digress. (GHF added – for those of you that don’t know me…that stands for a gratuitous hair flip for when you feel especially cool).
That is the pride part coming out in me. Oh sure, my response comes out very humbling and demure, but the truth is, in my heart I am throwing a fist to the air and saying, “YES! Sandy, YOU did this! Self High Five!”
Well today, I fold up my pride and put it up for another time.
Today, I say thank you to my kids. They put up with an awful lot during a day. I may have taught them how to behave but it’s not always been with positive experiences, especially when Emily was at home. You can try to camouflage mistakes but you will get caught by a teen. You can bet it will happen. Happened to me over and over again. Still does, just more humbling now since she is an even more intelligent adult living on her own.
Truth is, I certainly haven’t taught them everything about human nature. That’s where their own instincts take over and they become heroes of their own days. Granted, they don’t always mark their days with superhuman controlled behavior…they’ve been known to physically scrap with each other on occasion. But at least they keep it within the household.
Let’s face it. There are a lot of nasty humans out there. Kids have to deal with many of them within a single 24-hour period. Some days those nasty humans are their parents. Yes, I am hanging my head in shame right now. Some days, their bosses, teachers, coaches, classmates, teammates, even their best friends just plain stink. (Feel free to hang your own heads if you feel compelled).
You can clutch your pearls now if you got offended, but you know it’s the truth. If I didn’t include your lot in life, insert it here because I meant to include you too. Nobody is exempt from this.
No matter if you are 5 or 90, you’re going to have a bad day once in awhile. That bad day is generally going to translate into treating people poorly. What is a kindergartener going to do when you spew your 40-something-year-old poison their way? Hopefully the answer is ignore you. But it’s not the same when they do it. They get their little hineys in trouble for being nasty.
I’ve often told my kids, “Everybody has a story and YOURS isn’t the worst one. Get over yourself and fix your attitude.” Sometimes I really need to take my own advice. That’s some pretty AWESOME advice. A lot of us don’t need a reason to act ignorant. Some days we just feel entitled to and project our frustrations on anyone in sight, when and where we feel like it. Who do you think typically gets that poisonous attitude? A kid.
My sister, Candy, used to say it best. “We only exercise authority over people we think we can.”
I don’t care who you are, that’s gotta hit home. Sometimes that authority isn’t nice at all. Sometimes it’s just filled with ugly and mean and has nothing to do with teaching any lesson, it’s just picking on someone – just nasty behavior exercised by someone who thinks they are bigger, better or smarter than you.
That brings me back to my original point – I know you guys thought I had lost it by now.
Today, I say thank you to kids. You other adults should too. They deserve a giant hug, handshake and whatever else I could possibly give them to say thank you! Kids have to learn to filter the ugly and stupid some days and and still take from it, whatever lesson they can possibly learn.
They deal with all ages and ranks of people EVERY SINGLE DAY, and they have to adjust their behaviors and attitudes to accommodate ALL of those personalities. Usually they meet all those personalities within the same 8-hour time frame! We as adults don’t always have to o that.
Then, throw on top of it, the expectations as a student and/or athlete or even what is expected as a sibling, offspring or worker as well. Good Lord, no wonder some teenagers are in constant bad moods. Who wouldn’t be!
Think about it. We see our kids and spouses in the morning, and then then go to work to deal with adults in a work place. Notice I said adults, not mature adults, because we are not mature all of the time. We get offended at something. We mouth off. Check out Facebook, you’ll see what I mean. We hold grudges. We make “points” to other people, so they pay attention to the important stuff we have to say, and yes, we gossip. There, I said it out loud, yes, gossip.
Kids? Well, there’s a lot more on their plate. They deal with all of that from a variety of sources. Then we expect them to somehow take all that in, interpret it, understand it and accept whatever behavior comes from whomever they dealt with that day and STILL have a great outlook on life.
Wow! Good thing I grew up. Trying to face all of that as an adult would make me want to call in tired every day.
Sure, most days for them might be awesome. But some days, they go to school and deal with moody little classmates, parents who may be arguing, a coach who is frustrated for whatever reason, or even the occasional teacher who have blown their transmission in their car that morning.
So…If I haven’t said it enough, Thank You Emily, Christina, Leah and every other kid out there who puts their best foot forward every day, sometimes not because of who you associate with, but in spite of them. Not because your parents told you to, but because of who you are and who you are becoming.
Thank you for grinning and bearing it when your day gets altered because of someone else’s unacceptable attitude or poorly chosen behavior. And Thank You for letting a plain old mom realize that it is YOU who deserve the credit for acting responsibly on your own accord.