A few nights ago at the movie theater, I was walking into a door when a young man, apparently, walked in front of me. I say apparently because there was a great crowd and, pretty much, it was each person for himself or herself. A man in a plaid coat and I arrived at the door at the same time.I paused to let him go in front of me and he smiled and said, “Oh, no, after you.” It was then that I noticed the very cute, clean cut teenager who’d gotten in front of me. He paused to wait for the friendly gentleman – it was his dad.
The dad quietly told him, “Son, you walked right in front of her.” The son, said, “I’m sorry. I was looking down at my ticket and didn’t see her.”
If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get where I was going, I might have passed out. A parent taking the time to teach their child manners was enough of a blow, but a teenager saying, “I’m sorry” when he hadn’t done anything worse than walking in front of someone was a real jaw dropper.
I’m a thinker, born to think. So, naturally, I thought about this off and on throughout the night.
Parents today often stare at their children in disbelief. Oh, the language they use. The immodesty. The decisions they make. Who’s to blame for all of this? Oh yeah, movies, television, other kids, teachers, the school system, music, and MTV. Of course!
Except for the part, of course, where that’s utter hogwash.
As John Adams said when he decided to defend British soldiers after the Boston Massacre, “Facts are stubborn things.” When we raise children, we’re basically training them in the way they should live. Naturally, they’ll pick up certain habits along the way that we had little, if anything, to do with. But their overall character and accountability? Make no mistake, we had a shaping hand in that.
Which is why it’s refreshing to see a parent doing hands on training as this father was doing with his son. He didn’t yell at him, didn’t call him names or try to degrade him. He simply, and quietly, made a strong case for manners. Personally, I think that’s what good parenting should be – calm and controlled – between the parent and the child. There’s no need to raise the roof, no need to lash out. If you need to scream to be heard, you’ve missed the boat somewhere along the way. Don’t flail around, screaming, in the water. Find the right boat!
All relationships – whether they’re between children and parents, siblings, or sweethearts – begin and end with respect for the other person. You can’t expect anyone to respect you if you don’t respect them.
John Adams’ quote hits home on more fronts than just parenting, of course. How about the following?
- Facts are stubborn things: When we eat fast food on a regular basis, we’re going to gain weight.
- Facts are stubborn things: If we refuse to eat the foods we know we should eat and turn to the unhealthy ones instead, we’re going to have blood pressure problems, heart problems, and a host of other nasty diseases.
- Facts are stubborn things: If we refuse to outsmart the pack of cigarettes in our pocket, we’re going to die sooner than we should. And it won’t be pretty.
- Facts are stubborn things: If we don’t make our family our first priority, we won’t have the strong, happy family we all dream of.
- Facts are stubborn things: Karma is real. Karma is accurate. If you continually spew anger, impatience, intolerance, and/or sarcasm into the world (and all over everyone within your reach), don’t waste time watching for peace, happiness, and contentment to show up on your doorstep.
- Facts are stubborn things: If you want to be treated “like a lady,” you need to act like one.
- Facts are stubborn things: If you want respect, you have to earn it.
- Facts are stubborn things: If you practice dishonesty or “flirt” with little white lies, get ready for people to doubt every word out of your mouth.
- Facts are stubborn things: If we want to improve in a given area, we have to devote at least 1 hour each day to the endeavor. There are no magic wands. I’ve looked.
- Facts are stubborn things: The Ten Commandments, the Bible, and Prayer should never have been taken out of school.
- Facts are stubborn things: If we want our minds to stay sharp, we have to challenge them. If the only thing we read is the TV guide, our brains will pretty much waste away.
- Facts are stubborn things: You can’t make someone else WANT something. You can’t impose your wishes or desires upon them. Quite frankly, you just don’t have the right.
About the Picture Above: Yeah. That was Carly being Carly. Such a cute, adorable name, right? I remember the day she was born, she was one of the most precious kittens I’ve ever seen – and, as someone who has had cats (very, very plural) her entire life, I’ve seen more kittens most vets. Carly’s looks pretty much defied her personality, though. She was a beautiful cat, but she had the disposition of a viper. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her with all my heart and I miss her greatly. We had a very special bond – I was the only human she didn’t want to shred.
During the time we had beautiful Carly, we kept triple antibiotic ointment and band-aids, not just on hand.. we often left them on the counter. You see, she was such a fat, furry, and inviting-looking cat that everyone had to pick her up and try to cuddle with her.
Big, big mistake.
Once in a blue moon, I could pick her up and sit down with her in a chair in the yard or walk around the yard with her for a while as she purred and I did the whole baby-talk thing. Most of the time, though, she wanted to just follow me around as I checked on the garden, flower bed, apple trees, etc. She wanted to be free to terrorize any birds, rabbits, or other cats that came around – including her own babies! When she had her kittens, we kept a very close eye on her (and them) because we were half afraid she’d eat them.
THAT was our Carly!
She was a very sweet mother though. For about 4 weeks. Then her nerves wore thin and she honestly wanted very little to do with the babies. I’ve seen most mother cats consent to let their kittens nurse even when the kittens are as big as them. Not Carly. She began to bop them on the head with her paw when they were still really small.
I spent a small fortune in kitten milk at Kroger!
As you can imagine, we got A LOT of entertainment out of this adorably cranky cat. I couldn’t have loved her any more than than I did and, after I lost her, I couldn’t have possibly missed her any more. Even though she wasn’t your stereotypically affectionate pet – she showed her love by simply not making you bleed – she was my baby.
My family always teased me about her – when I’d go out to spend time with her or feed her, they’d let me know they’d pray for me.
When she was ready for attention and/or food, she’d let me know by getting up on the windowsill of one of the kitchen windows – she’d meow loudly looking in the window at me until I dropped everything and answered her call. When anyone would see her at the window, they’d say, “Oh no!” like they’d seen a grizzly bear.
I’d always try to tell them that she had a sweet side… but… again, with stubborn facts…. they’d immediately show me their scratches and band-aids.
Can’t argue with band-aid
Funny, you know. Of all my countless cats and dogs I’ve had over the years, there are none that I miss any more than my crazy little Carly. She was one of a kind and none of us will ever forget her, that’s for sure!