I'm sitting in the front seat of my mom's minivan. My mom had gotten a van with a CD player, so we usually listened to one of her CDs. One of the ones I remember the best was one by Jo Dee Messina. I didn't really understand what a lot of the songs were about, but I would always sing to them along with my mom. There's a song on the CD called Stand Beside Me.
This is the moment I remember. After the song was over, I asked my mom why the woman singing wanted the man to stand beside her. If you're unfamiliar with the song, the lyrics are; "I want a man who stands beside me, not in front of or behind me..." She then explained to me that the woman wanted a man that would be her equal. Not someone more important (who would stand in front of her), or less important (who would stand behind her). Through a CD in the minivan, at an unexpected moment, I had one of my first, and one of my most formative, lessons about relationships.
Prefacing statement; I'm the last person on Earth to give parenting advice, as I obviously have no children. I have no idea how to parent a child, all I know is how to be one. But if you are a parent and you're reading this (I actually don't know how many parents make up my readership), please please please understand this; these teaching moments are not wasted.
Growing up, my sister and I knew the toll addiction took on a family. Maybe not our immediate family, but our extended family. My sister and I know the walls that addictions build. And while my parents sheltered us from it appropriately, at a young age we were aware of the dangers of that kind of irresponsibility. There was one day, maybe a year ago, when I was talking with my dad. The subject of drinking came up, and again the discussion of moderation and responsibility came up. You have to understand, having heard this speech since I was about 12 years old, I'd gotten a little tired of it. And now that I was 21, the message almost felt like distrust. So this is what I told my dad that day, and this is what I would tell any parent;
"We never don't hear you."
Yeah, sometimes kids are brats and don't act like they're listening. Sometimes they're not appreciative. Hell, there are days when they probably don't care at all. But they still hear you. Consider the eye-roll you receive to be evidence that the message is downloading.
Whatever you do, please don't give up on the teachable moments, because fifteen years later, they're being used.
Thanks for reading!