John Adams's quote was a proverbial slap in the face this morning. It's amazing how some random piece of information can find the most opportune time to appear. Of course these bits of wisdom are probably always floating across our faces, but it takes a specific act or emotion in tandem at the right time to make it jump out and shake us.
The details of my experience are really not as important as the lesson. I can keenly identify with this basic need. That's probably why I decided to create a blog, and I revel in the observations and praises that I receive. It reminds me that I matter, and I am doing something right. Countless times you hear of wives hoping that their spouses would just appreciate the work that they do, and the opposite is also just as true for many husbands, right? Workers are constantly complaining under their breath and at the water cooler how their work is not appreciated by their bosses. So if you can relate to this disposition like I can, then why don't we recognize that very need in our fellow beings, and most especially our own children?
I guess as parents of 20+ somethings we spend a heavy 18 years guiding, coaching, and yes, praising our young charges. But when they become adults, we (maybe I should shift to the singular)... I can't quite shake that facade. It's always with the best intentions that I want to help my son and daughter through their lives. Possibly to spare them the mistakes that I made at their age, or get them to see that they should react to a situation in a better way. Boy, no matter how many times I've preached it or heard it, I still can't follow the old guideline, everyone needs to learn from their own mistakes. Instead it comes out You need to.... Or I've been around a lot longer than you have...Or I've been doing this since you were in diapers, so listen up.
Is it no wonder that I see my adult child bristle at this kind of "help"? I would have! Maybe I can use the excuse that my parents were both gone before I was 30 years old, so I didn't have that kind of experience to model... or resist. But I have to say that is a pretty lame excuse when I was definitely taught and try to abide by the Golden Rule. I just seem to be selective in that Rule's use when it comes to my adult children. This intensifies especially when another parent and maybe a fellow sibling joins in and tries to deliver the blow of correction all with the best of intentions. Unless it's an out right and organized intervention, the "gang up" approach doesn't work very well.
I am blessed with a family that even when things get a little heated, we allow each other to have a bit of cool down time and amends are made. I may not like how others react to my "suggestions" but then again, I can't always live by "Be reasonable and do it my way." I do hope though, that I will try to be a model to my kids that when the time comes, they will want to emulate rather than resist my behaviors.