This morning, within a space of fifteen minutes my daughter managed to lose each of her gloves. The first one somehow slipped from her hands before we got on the bus after which I expressly told her to always put things in her pockets or bag. Needless to say, I was reiterating the same message when she realised she had left the last remaining glove on the bus.
At this point I was beyond miffed ( my explicit advice having been ignored). I asked her some rather redundant questions like why she had taken the gloves off in the first place and how she managed to just drop her gloves. Then a little memory popped in my head; my mother going in on me when I’d left a brand new satchel in an ET (emergency taxi for non Zimbabweans).
The biggest lesson so far for me as a parent has been on hypocrisy. We get these little people in our lives and its amazing how we gradually turn into our parents and ignore all our experiences as children in an effort to instil our authority. Im challenged so much now, I can only imagine what the teenage years will be like. I don’t want to pretend to be someone I am not and certainly not give off the impression that I was some goody-two-shoes: But I also want to give good counsel.
The teenage years are creeping on me and this may as well be my trial run. If I mess up this stage I’ll pay heavily for it. Im learning to listen more, hypocrites don’t. Im learning to say “I don’t now”, hypocrites know everything. And Im learning to trust her judgement, knowing that when it fails her, Im right there with her, not to scold or say I told you so but to help her understand that I still go through that too and its ok to get it wrong sometimes. It wont be the last. Sometimes I do wish parenting was easier but there is so much of myself that I know and understand thanks to the process. Besides, children provide the greatest material for tweets and status updates.
Often, when we say “I don’t understand how you could…” what we are really saying is ” I refuse to empathise” and in that moment we lose our right to give advise. If you don’t understand the situation, then you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
Note to self: Try a little tenderness!