As most of you know, I’m a very bashful guy: the shy, retiring, quiet sort who doesn’t share his feelings or opinions. I wish. My personality gets me into occasional trouble, IRL. I also can occasionally put my foot in it online via a Tweet, email, or comment. BUT, twitter IS the most dangerous one of them all, for you and me!
The older I get the more I work to manage my expectations and be appreciative and grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. Nonetheless, there are times when I just get disappointed. It may last just a moment or linger for a while as it has with a recent incident with my older son. My wife and me have gotten so much better at NOT allowing the little things to cause rifts or hurt feelings though her favorite words are,” You hurt my feelings.”
One of the many things that we try to teach our children is how to make good decisions. Sometimes the problem can be that we may not always make good decisions ourselves or we may allow emotions to influence our choices. I found this to be true in a recent argument I had with my older son and a latter discussion about an important choice he wanted to make.
The argument was about his last-minute decision to back out of his promise to come skiing with me over Winter Break, preferring instead to stay home with his friends (and girlfriend). I got angry as he made this decision days before we were supposed to leave, thus leaving me high and dry with little time to find a friend to come in his place. My wife and other son were already scheduled to go on a very special trip to Japan and Hong Kong.
I think the hardest lesson for me in becoming a parent was learning to let go of my expectations for my sons. Okay, I’ll be completely honest; I’ve only been able to partially let go of them. I think it’s impossible not to have some wishes for our kids, but the focus here is really on how we have specific things we hope they’ll like or do that often mirror our own interests or fantasies.
When I was a member of the Big Brother organization it had the unexpected effect of turning out to be a parenting prep course. The “Little” (the term for the kid you are matched with) I had was a young eight-year-old girl who totally didn’t like doing anything physical. This was before I was married, let alone before I became a parent.
In those days, they matched girls with Big Brothers, something that is all too rare today, due to fears enhanced by the media and the exaggeration of sexual harassment. Another topic for another column, for sure, as the little girls without fathers need the “Bigs” just as much as the little boys do, so this is a terrible loss for them.