Monday, February 15, 2010

Deep Breath After Deep Breath

Sometimes we say hurtful things. Sometimes we say things that aren't true. Sometimes we say things just because we know it'll make a point no matter how cruel it is. I'm kinda upset right now. But passionate words lead to passionate points and hopefully a beneficial end result. I'm not going to tell you why I'm upset. Suffice to say there was an altercation earlier. And today, there's not going to be a how-to or an insight into a teen's mind. Today it's going to be more a narrative.

I argue frequently with people. I was brought up the youngest of three children-two older twin brothers who were brilliant and confident. We didn't eat fast food often, we always sit down and eat meals together. Usually, we'd turn on the tv. The Simpsons, Wheel of Fortune, and the world news were the trifecta of shows that we would usually put on. And as the three of us grew older we developed our own opinions on, well, everything. Food, politics, sports, computers games, teachers, you name it. While we all shared genetic material, we were always individuals.

And it was around that same table that I found my voice. I often listened to my brothers argue about politics. But I always could express my own opinion. And it didn't stop there. I learned to speak my mind at school, at events, wherever I felt I needed to stand up for myself. I've learned a lot of things sitting around that yellow-ish table that never quite seemed to have enough room for us all.

A lot of people disagree with how I get things done. A lot of people disagree with my beliefs. A lot of people disagree with personality, my lifestyle, my work ethic, me. But I think they're rather naive in all of this. I think they base their opinions on a rather narrow slice of my life that they've only barely tasted. Sometimes you gotta step back, take another piece and just dig in. We're all guilty of sometimes assuming things or making false accusations. Take a deep breath, it's all gonna be ok.

Think of your son or daughter, friend, sister, brother, aunt, cousin, neighbor, whoever. Do you really know what goes on in their life? Do you really know everything about every situation they've been in? No offense, but I doubt it. And I know I'm guilty too. All we can do is sit down, ask a few questions, talk about some things and hope we can assess the situation better next time.

I suppose I do have one tidbit of advice to share. Don't yell at your teen. We get defensive. We get mad. We get upset. And we get quite hurt by it. You are not just our mother or father or aunt or teacher or whomever. You're our rolemodel. And even if we're too darn stubborn to admit it, we strive to make you proud, hear that praise, know that we've done good. And out of the blue yelling or even yelling we deserve hurts. It kills us to know that we've let you down. It burns to know that we've done something so terrible as to warrant a rather loud verbal reprimand. It knocks us down, it rubs dirt in our face, and it walks away. Ouch. So give us a chance. Let us talk and say what's on our mind. And don't just hear us, listen to us. We're not misbehaving animals; we don't need to be yelled at. We wanna be talked to. Like an equal. Are you listening?


PS: My forensics piece is called The Dating Game by Kelly Meadows.

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