Think about all of those times it feels like we’re talking to
ourselves, offering up wisdom on a platter to teens who would rather watch
videos on Instagram. Think about those times we look into the eyes of little
people we brought into this world and share our own personal stories of
disappointment, hoping that they won’t make the same mistakes that we did. Sometimes
we may fall silent, wondering if we are getting through, but even when they
don’t openly acknowledge our efforts, it seems that they actually do listen and
I know that my sons have a learning curve ahead of them, but I have equipped them with wisdom that would make it a lot less steep.
After the initial shock wore off, I asked my 14-year-old what
other things I have told him that helps him in his life and he had a list. The
things he said back to me reminded me of those epiphanies that took me 30
plus years to figure out for myself. They comforted me. They reminded me of how
much I have grown and allowed me to marvel at the fact that I know that my sons
have a learning curve ahead of them, but I have equipped them with wisdom that
would make it a lot less steep.
1. Nothing is permanent
Whenever my son receives a less than stellar grade on an
assignment, he has to miss out on hanging out with his friends or his phone is
taken away as a punishment. He says he becomes annoyed but doesn’t get
upset because he knows that nothing is permanent and he’ll get another chance.
2. Never give up
My younger son loves playing games on his phone. He is
really passionate about it, to the point where if we are talking on the
phone, I can tell by the way he responds to questions that he is only half
listening. When he was younger he used to become extremely irritated, jumping up
and down in anticipation during video game play and even crying over losses whether
he was the one actually playing or not. I didn’t understand this behavior at
all; but he explained that he wanted to win.
Now that he’s older he doesn’t do that anymore and he says
it’s because he knows he will always have more time to play, and when he doesn’t
give up, he always gets to the next level.
3. Accept people for who they are
We had a rather humorous conversation about my son’s father,
who like most dads has a litany of phrases he uses when communicating his
frustration. This conversation was a result of my constant reminder to my sons
when they complain about their dad because they think he’s being unreasonable:
(Shrug) That’s your Daddy.
Their grandma speaks loudly at all times, their sister won’t
relinquish the remote control without a tussle, and their Dad has this "thing" about the laundry being done by Friday night. Whether my sons agree with any of
their actions or not, they now accept these personality traits because I have reminded
them that people are always going to be who they are and they can’t force
anyone to be who they want them to be.
4. Think about what you want instead
of what you don’t want
My older son used to have this
negative outlook on life. I’ll admit, I have it too so he probably got it from
me. As I noticed that my worst traits were rubbing off on him, I tried to change
my outlook so I could influence him, and it worked. I told him that there is a rule in life that
we get what we expect because we tend to act according to our expectations.
After much repetition, and to a
certain degree of brainwashing, I have gotten my sons to expect that their lives
are going to be great and they should always focus on what they want to happen
instead of what they don’t want.
“Everything always works out for
me,” I shared with my 14-year-old at the end of this very important
“It sure does,” he reminded me. I
am so lucky to have him as my mirror.