I have always had a policy with my kids that they could tell me anything and without fear of repercussions. A safe place to share thoughts, ideas, things they had done, had not done, or had done horribly wrong. I have never had my kids tell me anything that truly ever upset me, and the conversations that have sprung from them sharing with me have been invaluable to me as a parent. They teach me volumes on so many levels, I have enjoyed tremendously watching them gain critical thinking skills, and in watching them as they are learning to think through whatever the issue, question, or concern is.
I grew up in a house in which I could share nothing with my parents, and I wanted it to be different for my children – they do not share with their dad the things they share with me – so I hope I have achieved my goal.
However, a couple of weekends ago my son shared with me something that disturbed me greatly. It took all my skills to bite my tongue and not “be the parent” and come down on him for what he shared with me. He shared with me that he was using chewing tobacco at school, evidently, his roommate has this lovely habit, and my son was participating in this vile habit – and has been for some time. My instinct was to immediately tell him how vile I thought it was, how foolish I felt he was in making this choice, and then to share with him all the horrors of mouth/throat cancer! Yes, my reaction was the antithesis of what the purpose of the “open door policy” was all about.
There was some conversation and somehow I managed to strangle the “Crazy Woman” that was simmering beneath the surface and simply shared with him that I was disappointed in his choice, and I asked him if Bria knew what he was doing. That stopped him in his tracks – he had not told her. This spurred further conversation on why he had not told her and what that meant. It was truly an eye opening experience for me – I have no clue why I asked about Bria, but I am thankful that I did not quell the question. Our conversation ended with me telling him how much I loved him.
Therefore, scroll forward to this weekend – Sam was home again and on Friday night after he had come home from taking the Darling Bria out to a movie. I have a rule that the kids have to wake me up when they get home – and so Sam woke me and the conversation that unfolded was truly amazing. I was paid tenfold for biting my tongue and just listening to the earlier conversation. We lay in bed together and what he shared with me brought great joy to this mother’s heart! Evidently, Darling Bria has strong feelings about tobacco use! Can I tell you how much I love this girl? Well, after this weekend, I love her even more! I am so happy that I did not open my mouth with my “parental advice” because the voice of young love is was just what Sam needed to hear! As he shared with me he was not using “chew” any longer because Bria would not kiss him if he did! A lovely conversation ensued and Sam shared with me that he is trying to help his roommate quit “chew.”
Some days it really pays to keep your mouth shut when the door is open…