Tell me it isn’t difficult to look your kid straight in the eye and give them grief for losing their i-pod; when not two hours earlier you were rummaging through the refrigerator in a last ditch attempt to find your keys. Or tell them with a straight face that they need to learn how to work it out with their sister when you just got off the phone with a woman you couldn’t work things out with after thirteen years.
So easy to preach isn’t it? Perhaps we should set up the video recorder when we’re lecturing our kids and then play it back to ourselves after they go to bed. Let’s face it, you know as well as I do, that our kids are laughing at us behind our backs with some of the gibberish that spews from our mouths. Eventually, at some point they’re going to start calling us out on it.
I remember my dad telling me for years when I couldn’t get something to work; “It’s never the equipment son, it’s always the operator.” One day he came into the house, slamming doors and calling one of the tractors every name in the book. In an effort to let him know I’d been listening all those years, I kindly reminded him that “it’s never the equipment, it’s always the operator dad.”
Several days later, when I was allowed out of my room again, I promised myself I would never lecture my kids. Yet, somehow over the next forty years I managed to forget that promise and continually catch myself giving the kids oral reports on topics I obviously still need to study. “Pick up your shoes,” “throw out that wrapper,” “don’t just leave the towel laying on the bathroom floor,” “stop spending so much time on the computer,” “don’t yell at your sister,” it just never ends.
But perhaps there’s hope. Maybe our efforts and attempts to make our kids better than even we turned out eventually pay off. Consider that the next time your eight year old stops you as you’re frantically rummaging for your wallet and instructs you to “stop and retrace your steps.”