“You just think I’m stupid,” he said.
“Tell me more about why you say that,” I replied.
“You always remind me of the same stuff over and over, you think I’m going to screw up, like you’re just waiting for it,” he said.
“So you think I have a low opinion of you, because I frequently remind you of things?” I asked.
“Yes. You told me four times today to take out the garbage,” he said. “I was going to do it when I finished what I was working on, but you just kept hounding me about it.”
Hounding = Repeating = Nagging…
“So, you think I think you aren’t going to do something, and when I remind you of it, that really bugs you because you already know you are going to do it in the first place, right?” I inquired.
“Yeah, that’s it,” he says.
“Okay, well I’m sorry I’m communicating this to you – it’s probably not too fun thinking your mom thinks you are stupid,” I began.
“And irresponsible,” he interjects.
“And irresponsible. I’ll bet you have really good intentions and want to be a help around here, want to be perceived as reliable, and when I’m reminding you, it feels like I’m diminishing this perception and makes you feel badly, right?” I asked.
“Yes. That’s exactly right,” finally he seemed at ease. All the tension and frustration slid off his face.
I was frustrated, too. Yes, this is a MINOR issue, but life is lived poorly or lived well in the minor issues of each day, culminating into relationships over the course of the waking hours. My heart knows he yearns for respect and honor, but my head knows he’s a mass of hormonally induced forgetfulness, and will be for the next several years…what to do? I’ll also admit that I was tempted to view this as more of HIS issue than mine – but that was pride again, and leaning on my own understanding…check the verses: Proverbs 3 and see for yourself! Maybe He’ll share something else with you, too.
Anyway, back to my story…
“So, I need your help in solving a problem. I’m trying to work in the kitchen, and I can’t with the garbage sack in the middle of the floor – it’s your job to take it out, and the longer I kept running into it (and I’m not making cookies for myself, by the way J) the more frustrated with you I got. I needed it taken out right away, so I didn’t accidently trip on it or kick the bag open. And it smelled bad. I don’t like baking while smelling trash. So how do I get you to do what you are supposed to do, when I need it done?” I asked him.
“Well you didn’t explain all that to me, you just told me you needed it taken out. If I’d known all that, I would have done it right away. I’m sorry, mom. I really wasn’t trying to be difficult,” he replied.
Oh, yes, the “Why” of doing something – teens (and I think nearly everyone) need to hear this. Given the fact that the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages common sense, isn’t fully developed until around age 26, I need to explain WHY more often. Even if I think it should be obvious, it’s just not going to be.
“I’ll work on remembering to explain why I need something done if I need it in a certain time frame, if you’ll help me do that by asking me questions, too, if I forget. Does that work?” This was getting to be a long conversation about a sack of garbage.
“Yeah, thanks!” He jumped up and took out the trash, giving me a hug before picking up the bag.
Dare you today to engage the people in your life differently. Include the reasons behind what you want and why you want it – asking for what you desire, instead of hoping to manage your home by mindreading. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is prideful on my part to assume that everyone understands what I mean all the time.
Double dog dare you to share, comment, or subscribe! So glad you are on the journey with us!
Triple dog dare you to actually check the verses above, listening to what the Creator of the Universe would have to say to you this day…
Love to you,