I thought about attempting an exhaustive list, but I think that would be an exercise in futility. Even if I could remember all the random insights I’ve gained from hearing my husband’s often polar opposite point of view over the years, if I wrote them all down and hit publish, I know I would wake up with a new one to add the next morning. So, for now . . .
- Allow your children to do more and more for themselves as they age. Be on the lookout for tasks that you can shift from your responsibility to theirs. If you continue to do for them what they can in fact do for themselves, you are communicating that you don’t believe they are capable while at the same time neglecting to prepare them adequately for a future without you.
- When sitting in stop-and-go traffic, it is important to notice what the cars around you are doing (as opposed to planning next week’s menu in your head, say, or jamming out to “Single Ladies”). That way, if another car wants to squeeze in front of you in line, you can let them in and avoid committing the über-shameful “dick move.”
- When dating (and perhaps even when not), most guys don’t really care about how “fashionable” your outfit is. They are just trying to picture what you look like when your outfit is on the floor.
- Discourage children from hanging on doorknobs or pushing down on drawers; their weight will eventually mess up the door/drawer by pulling the hinges or track thingies horribly out of whack.
- Try your best to shake off any feelings of guilt you have over how royally you’ve screwed up your kids to date. Guilt makes you a much less effective parent, if only because while you’re busy feeling guilty, you aren’t paying your children a whit of attention. Plus all that unnecessary worry tends to make us overlook our children’s transgressions, which does them no service.
- Never put phones, cameras, etc. down so that their little screens are face down; they might get scratched or wounded or bring on Armageddon in some other unforeseen way.
- Children are tougher than today’s culture often leads us to believe. They can in fact endure quite handily logical and swift discipline, the occasional bout of exasperated yelling by their parents, and even criticism (when it’s fair). If we handle our children as if they were a delicate, hand-blown objet d’art, how will they react when some other future person, who most likely does not love them unconditionally, really lets them have it later down the line? As long as a discipline regimen is wrapped up in the overall package of a loving relationship, the exact manner—and level of delicacy—with which it’s implemented is less important.
© Amy Daniewicz and Beneath the Trees