There’s a lyric to my favorite song which I thought really did capture who I was.
“If I stay in one place I lose my mind. I’m a pretty impossible lady to be with.”Tire Swing – Kimya Dawson
Usually, when there is a problem I look inward to see what of my failings caused this issue. Because I do know I am a hard person to live with.
Though this situation – your complete ambivalence to your family is not of my making. These are your choices and your failings. Not mine. I taught you better. I showed you better. And yet, you *choose* to be less.
We had a talk about this when you decided the most important person in the house was yourself at 12:30 am on a week day. I recall specifically that I said your actions speak louder than your words. And that if you didn’t like the rule we had in this house you could do as your peers at the age of 20 and move out on your own.
That was an invitation that you chose not to accept, thereby communicating that you were willing to abide by the house rules. Which you have set out to break at least one more time since the brouhaha over the breadwinners need for sleep.
So here we are again but this time it is a brouhaha over being a decent fucking human being with a kind enough heart to make a person’s birthday not about you.
Tell me again why you want to be a teacher?
Because I have lost all point of why. I know most teachers to be kind, generous, models of upstanding behavior. They are not selfish. They’re not stingy. And they don’t hold petty grudges because of some past hurt they experienced by people decades ago. Just because you were bullied does not give you license to be a bully or to shut out any shred of kindness to your family or a fellow human being.
When you become a teacher, you not only teach the subject, but also you parent. Like it or not. These kids are now your kids too. You are teaching them the subject matter, but also life’s little lessons. The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” is entirely accurate. You are part of the village, my boy.
You influence the children you teach by your behavior. If you are rude to them, you teach them it is okay to be rude to others. If you are kind and generous, you show them it is model behavior. You get what you give. You become a people maker.
Your influence is power. Regardless if you think you are making an impression you are. And believe me, there will be kids who will try your patience and test your commitment to the job. They will be awful – mind bogglingly so. It will leave you wondering what kind of parents allow this kid to behave in this manner. And it will be your challenge to teach this child, through your persistent influence how to do and be better.
Which leads me to my question, how is it that I am recognized as an influence in your work ethic but none of my attention to kind acts and traditions over holidays and birthdays have made any impression at all?
How is that possible? Why is that possible?
Look deep within for the answer, what choices have you made to lead you to ignore or abandon that influence. If you begin to answer by pointing a finger at someone else then start over with your internal inventory. Dig deeper.
What kind of person fails to remember a birthday of a loved one?
Is that person so self involved that they cannot celebrate the fact that the human who contributed in giving them life should have a special day commemorating their trip around the sun?
Even if the birthday boy/girl is mean, does that justify those around them to be mean as well? Or can they rise above and be a better person and show an element of kindness which grows past the hurt and resentment?
There is a larger lesson here and I need to stress it. You inability to show kindness will eventually shut you out of opportunities for love, a sense of belonging and feeling fulfilled. It will be a long road of loneliness, resentments and bitterness. The more people you hurt, the more alone you will become in this world and it will only be by your actions and yours alone.
I thought I would never have to whip this one out of my arsenal of things to try to snap you out of it but here goes, courtesy of my grandmother, Mimi:
“I may have to love you, but I don’t have to like you.“
If your knee jerk response is “I know, and I don’t have to care.”
I can show how to pack your bags and you can show yourself out. Leave the keys on the table when you go.