Friday, November 11, 2005

A new tool

The medium is the message. Nowhere is that more true than with kids. You might be really desperate to get a point across to them in some crisis, trying to break through their thick, determined little skulls and implant the Truth. You might use ridicule, you might yell, you might be cold, dismissive, imperious, angry, impatient, interruptive.

You're toast. The only thing they pick up on in these situations (and I mean the only thing), is the method you used to get your point across. They Think: A new tool! I can't wait to try THAT out!. And when they do use it (usually on you), it doesn't matter if they're dead wrong, laughably wrong. They just wanted to use the new tool, whatever it is.

A long time ago I used to sometimes tell my son not to do something, because even though I had my backed turned, I could predict what he would do. "How did you know, Dad?" he'd ask. In jest, I'd reply: "Because I know everything."

Now this has become something he says at least once a day. He doesn't have to wash his hands, he knows his markers did not stain the wall, the cup on the edge of the table will not spill. How does he know? "I know everything."

Always try to be patient and calm with your kids. They'll pay back any errors you make many times.

No, I don't have any recent incidents to peg this on, but it's my wisdom, to you, for free. Unless you don't need it because you already know everything.
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