Thinking Out Loud
March 11, 2012
"Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons." ~ Jessica Lange
By: Diane Szczepanski
Oh, I so wanted to rub in how right I was.
Every ounce of my being wanted to take an opportunity, that I knew couldn't be argued with in this particular case, to prove my 'rightness'.
I was due this solid victory.
The entire ride to school that morning, my teen son complained of the ACT prep test the high school was making students undergo. "It's lame and who needs to prep for a test, really Mom, it's annoying and stupid".
I blithely tried to explain that it was an important dress rehearsal for an important test. That being prepared will be essential in many things to come in his life.
But, I don't have to tell you my advice fell on deaf, adolescent ears. The snort and ensuing eye-roll were enough indication that according to him, I obviously didn't have a clue of what I was talking about.
As I just nicely pulled back into our driveway, after dropping him off at the school, my cell phone rang.
It was him.
"Mom, I'm really sorry, really, but can you bring me my ID? I forgot it and it's REALLLLLY important that we have it".
I could tell by the tone of his voice he was hesitant and nervous to have to admit he forgot it and did not want to have to ask me to get back in the car and retrace my route to school.
The entire drive back, I thought about it.
I wanted to say to him, "See! This is what they mean, you NEED to be prepared, THIS is what I was trying to tell you the whole ride here!" Honestly, despite the fact that I'm supposedly the grown adult here, I actually think sing-songing "Na na-na boo-boo" to him, came to my mind.
I was RIGHT and now I had every opportunity to PROVE how right I was to my teen for a change! He wouldn't be able to deny it. Not this time. He would have to admit he'd lost this battle.
As he approached the car with trepidation and a look of remorse, he began apologizing, "I'm sorry Mom, I know you didn't want to have to come all the way back" and so forth.
I looked at him for a second and instead of saying what was on my tongue, I said what was in my heart, "Son, do you honestly think I've never forgotten something important either? We're all human. Now go have a great day!" and off I went.
I pulled away from the curb, leaving him looking a little flabbergasted.
I was proud of myself that I took an opportunity set an example of forgiveness and tolerance, rather than just being the 'winner' of the most current parent/teen debate.
It felt good.
Most days, it seems I'm just muddling my way blindly through this whole parent thing. I admit, I don't know what I'm doing any more than the next Mom.
But this day I felt adequate. This day, I think I chose to teach, rather than correct. This day, I believe I did the right thing as a parent, by NOT trying to prove I was right.
With any luck, these little seeds I've tried to plant along the way will help him grow into the kind of man who has a tolerant attitude and a forgiving, accepting heart of those around him.
That, in itself, seems right enough to me.
Columns Article 6814
- Feedback From Readers!
On March 12, 2012
at 06:14 PM
I Totally love your example you showed your Young Buck on that day,And to have a final finish as you did SPOT ON MOM,SPOT ON! ;o)
Business-woman by day, confessed boot addict by night and 'wanna-be' writer, music lover and proud Mom of an awesome guitar playing, teen son.
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