“I’m working on writing a speech and this book I’m reading recommends asking the people close to you a question. Can you tell me what I’ve taught you?”
It was a risky question, especially to ask to my daughters. But it resulted in such an interesting conversation with my husband Robert that I decided to go for it. I sought out a quiet moment alone with each of them.
I was hoping they would at least participate, maybe even come up with something like – always try to make it to the toilet if you think you’re going to barf or how to separate a yolk from an egg white. But their answers blew me away and made me a little weepy.
(Before you think I’m just tooting my own horn, I want to present Exhibit A and Exhibit B as reminders of my public parental failures. And if you read my upcoming memoir Float On, you’ll have more opportunities to discover my past failings.)
The daughter who I thought wouldn’t play along at all thought about it for a bit and said, “To treat others how I want to be treated.” The other daughter was more expansive, “Literally everything…manners, how to socialize…” Then she stopped and said, “Last year we had the word altruistic as a vocabulary word and I remembered it by thinking of you. That’s how you are.”
I felt like getting my timecard and clocking off – my work here is done! It’s not, of course, but I will cling to these thoughts because parenting teenagers is hard. I know that I will need to remind myself that something is sticking when I encounter the attitude, the evasiveness, the other things that I won’t even mention.
This question also causes me to think about what others have taught me and what a beautiful thing it can be to share with someone. So I want to tell you readers that you have taught me that being deliberate to share my words with you brings me connection and joy. Thank you.