When I was a school teacher, I endured many observations.
The principal, the assistant principal, the specialists, parents, everybody and their momma came into my room at some point and observed me.
During one observation early in my career, an administrator told me that I did a good job by pointing out a mistake in something I had written.
Honestly, I thought she was just being nice and just trying to find something good to write on my report. I’m sure she probably wanted to comment on how I often forgot to call in attendance and how I was the biggest germaphobe on the campus. I found it very natural to tell my students that I had made a mistake. I didn’t understand back then that my behavior was kind of a big deal for a kid to see.
In the years since, I have learned that a lot of people (I’m looking at you, parents) are actually huge assholes towards children…their own and other people’s kids, too.
Don’t get me wrong; kids are pretty awful. They’re only awful because they’re small, untrained versions of adults, who are technically the most awful.
Here’s the kicker: there’s a good chance that the parent made them into a little fart face.
So, if you’re a parent or teacher or anyone else who is around kids regularly, here are two tips to help you be less of a jerk and raise a little person who is also less of a jerk.
Number 1: Admit Your Own Mistakes and Shortcomings
I think some folks think that having a kid means having someone to tie your shoelaces when you’re old and fat. Unfortunately, there’s much more to it than that, even though wouldn’t that be super awesome of that were the case?
Take a cue from me, from many years ago and today, and show your humanness in front of your kids.
That doesn’t mean show them your angry, irrational side. That means to let them know when you don’t know something. Tell them about times when you felt like a failure or really failed at something. If the kid sees you as a whole person, they can accept themselves as whole people, too. And whole people are more conscious of how they treat others.
Number 2: Chill the F☆☆☆ Out
Tonight, I tried to learn two card games from two pre-teen children. You’d think that when I got home, the first thing I did was reach into my fridge and grab a 40 oz and guzzle it.
While the children fussed and taunted each other while playing the games, I sat there, patiently, being present with them. My attitude influenced how they behaved and calmed them down. I was beaten in both games and even now I have no idea how to play either game (because children are cheaters who make sh☆t up). It was fun. They enjoyed me playing the game with them and I was able to influence them without saying or doing much. It was very rewarding.
If you have a bunch of kids at home, I send you my love and energy and prayers that you never run out of wine.
But most importantly, I send you my wish that you never run out of patience with your little heathens. The world is depending on you to be caring and human.
Until tomorrow my friends…