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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dad's Rule



I was about 6 years old when I first learned my dad’s rule:

No matter what happens when you are away from home, you always pitch in and help out a member of this family. If you think they are wrong, we’ll work it out at home but we always look out for each other in public. That’s part of what being a member of a family is all about.
Another part of that rule is equally important. You make every effort to refrain from embarrassing a member of your family. Now I am not talking about making unpleasant noises or eating with your knife here. No, I mean saying things that either should be left unsaid or saved to discuss in the privacy of your home. This is especially true for parents and guardians as well as siblings.  The old saying, “Don’t air your dirty underwear in public” is a good one. It causes people to feel uncomfortable and is sad for the victim.
Just this week, I’ve been told that a young man, a close friend of my grandson, has had to endure being ‘’put down’’ and embarrassed in front of friends and adult dinner companions. What in the name of heaven are these people thinking of? This is just the tip of the iceberg but I don’t feel I should say more. He has new guardians so I am hopeful his situation will vastly improve. I will miss him.
I have worked with teens and preteens most of my entire life through church, scouts, music, public school teaching, and my own children and their friends. I have enough graduate level courses in child and teen psychology that the U. of Tn. said  if I wanted to teach in Tn. I did not have to take any more education courses. I have also a high “A” grade on the National Teachers’ Exam.  No, I don’t know everything - very little, in fact. But there is one thing that I am totally sure of.  Young people wound easily and deeply. Some try to cover up their feelings and others “act out.”
Every human being needs love and acceptance. I hate the expression, “Oh he knows I love him.”  OR, “of course he knows I am proud of him.” Well, would it kill you to just say so? Would you please bite your tongue before saying negative words that accomplish nothing?
Kindness is not something we should reserve for other people. Kindness begins at home, with our own families.