Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Did you have the talk yet ?

 As you raise a child you find yourself in the role of a storyteller, a teacher and  a bit of a walking encyclopedia (I wish I was a Google but instead I just use it all the time).

Your first forays are teaching them the basics, eating, listening to you, talking, walking.  Their curiosity grows and you seem all knowing to them, because basically you are.

I love learning so sharing that with my kids, reading to my boys and generally imparting what I know and going to find out more if I didn't was right up my alley.  I was the teenage girl that my boy crush called Eggbert, with affection.   Though if I was to be fair he was pretty easily impressed by fairly common knowledge.   I enjoy the process of listening and learning from those who can explain things that are beyond my current knowledge base and yes my friends now tease me about all the "facts" I store and share.

Being a parent is about teaching them to love learning.  It is not what they retain as much as stroking their curiosity, not dismissing their questions even when you are tired and have no idea and frankly could care less who would win the imaginary fight between the Hulk and Thanos.  I say Hulk because the grumpy green guy is still on the side of good and after all comics are about right winning out over wrong.

As they grow their questions may remind you of all that you do not know, or have forgotten.  This is the time I find I am teaching my boys patience, and sometimes my own lack thereof.   Teaching them that no one knows it all and that they should know how to find out might be more valuable than the feeding of info I have done up to this point.

Then there are the talks... you know the uncomfortable for us and somewhat for them ones.   The talk about sex, yes it is a good thing, yes it is fun, yes it comes with responsibilities.  You do not need to talk mechanics because frankly they find that as gross to do with a parent as you do.  You do need to talk about consent, appropriate age, what not to do and safe sex along with contraception.  I did not do all of this at once with my soon to be 13 year old, I am not done, this comes in bits as they ask and they do not need the whole discussion in one shot I have found.

The talk about drugs and alcohol is hard for me.  The dangers, the chances that they will try something and most of all the availability of drugs that can kill scare me, I want to duck and cover.  I want to pretend I do not know of them.  I can't and boy it is uncomfortable because you do not want to make it like some of our parents, unrealistic scare tactic that did not work, nor downplay it.   It is an ongoing discussion.  Pointers welcome.

The last of the "talks" for me is the one about how to be a good person, to be kind, to know when to push back and when to stand up for yourself or for others.  To have confidence in yourself so you are not mean to others to make yourself feel better about who you wish you were.  I want to raise kids who appreciate others, respect the planet and recognize when they may have a bias.  These are not only talks but also actions - these are learned as they watch how you act and let's be honest we are all assholes at some point.

Maybe the thing I take away from being a parent is what I have tried to do in my life, talk and listen. I smile and think of one of my closest friends and how he and I barely can finish what we have to say because the other jumps in with additional info or questions, he fascinates me because of this and our friendship grows me (of course I hope the same is thought of me by him).

I watch our world and while I do not agree with all those who say "what's wrong with the world today?", it's the same crap that has always been wrong with the world we just see it live time now, I do wonder when did we stop disagreeing and started just yelling?  When did we stop thinking of how do we find middle ground and agree to have different view points?  When did being right and sticking by someone or something we chose become more important than learning and evolving our thinking when that person or those ideas fail?

Did you have the talk yet?  Maybe it is not just with our kids, maybe we need to have the talk with one another for our kids.

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