the wrong morals

Here in the States, today is Memorial Day. A day we remember. We remember by telling stories. Heroic stories. Tragic stories. Stories of people we know. Stories of strangers. Stories that keep our understanding of past moments in history alive.

We do the same in our parenting. We have stories we tell. Stories of a child’s first words. Or of the goal they scored. Or the test they aced. The stories we tell tell us about our child. And they tell us about what we value.

Sometimes, we start telling other kinds of stories, too. Stories that we think are charming, but accidentally belittle. Stories that we think show a trait, but actually pigeonhole.

I used to tell one of those stories. It started a few years ago. Cole would head to the pantry to look for something, and not see it right away. He’d ask for help. Sure, I’d say, I’ll come and look, but if I find it first, you owe me $5.00.

It was cute, I thought. funny. I never collected. But I told the story. And he heard me. He got the message, and he internalized it. And he’ll tell you “I don’t pay attention to detail. I’m not observant.”

Oops. Giant oops. Giant huge parenting oops.

It was a story that I thought was harmless. It wasn’t. It isn’t. And I’m still trying to un-say it. Each time he sees a distant eagle, or spots something new, I trip over myself to comment on it. He laughs. He gets it. We’ve talked about it. He understands. But does he know? I don’t know. I don’t know how long it will take for me to un-tell that story.

What stories do you tell about yourself? About your children? What anecdotes are becoming emotional muscle-memory? Are they the ones you want to become family lore? Are they the ones that help your child remember who they are? Remember who you are?

They might be. They might not. Sometimes the moral to the story isn’t what we intended.


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Have you ever told this kind of story? What about the other kind? The kind where the moral stretches your child to become more? To do better? To see themselves in a whole new light? I’d love to hear your stories. No matter what kind they are. Hit reply. Write to me. I’ll help you remember.

Speaking of remembering, don’t forget Summer of Love.  It is starting soon. Have you signed up? {Yes, it is returning! Did you do it last summer? Sign up for all new content! Wondering what it is? Think weekly note with extra icing & sprinkles. Designed to make summer easier. more fun. more filled with the kind of connections that create the stories you will want to tell. over and over. check it out & get all signed up!}

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