It was almost midnight when I noticed the bedroom light was on and burst in through the door and rolled out the kind of icy glare that does more than make my kids freeze.
That bad boy was the a duplicate of one that made an MMA fighter and his three Rottweilers decide it wasn’t worth finding out if I was that stupid or that capable.
“Dad, I can explain why I am still awake.”
“Yeah, you can and I can explain why it is wrong. Fact is I can answer any question ever asks me and give them an answer that sounds reasonable. Doesn’t mean they should believe or buy it.”
He is fourteen years-old now and he didn’t have to tell me that he was still doing his homework because the Algbera textbook and page full of math problems made it clear.
Nor did I need or want him to tell me about how he had mismanaged his time because we both knew it.
My job isn’t to berate him every time he makes a mistake or to jump on him because he is on the verge of doing so.
Nor am I supposed to prevent him from falling down because if you never learn how to fail you never learn how to deal with adversity.
Friday night we spent several hours hanging out and sharing stories about our lives. I listened to him tell me about the kids in school and how some of them are being difficult.
Listened to him tell me about those who are nasty and those who are not. Listened to him and heard how he is trying to find his people and felt badly because I get it.
His best friends are at other schools now and he is wending his way through a time that would be awkward even if they were all together.
Why Everyone Hates Bloggers
I listen to his story and share some of my own. I want him to know I understand and that I am always there to support him.
But I make a point to tell him he has to find his way because how I do things might not work for him.
“Dad, there are a lot of kids who don’t understand why I don’t like some things. They always push me to explain or ask why I can’t do that.”
I laugh and tell him to get used to it.
“This is who we are. We walk our path and sometimes it intersects with others and sometimes it doesn’t. It is not the easy way but I find it more fulfilling.”
When he asks me to give him an example I tell him a story about why some people say everyone hates bloggers. I tell him about how some people think bloggers are hacks who try to blackmail brands into giving them free stuff and all of the other stereotypes.
“Is it true?”
I shrug my shoulders and nod my head.
“There is some truth in it but probably not as much as some people think.”
He nods his head and asks me if it bothers me that people think this way.
“No, I don’t pay much attention to what others have to say. Some people will love me, some will hate me and some won’t have an opinion. I don’t waste much time on them. Doesn’t mean I never have moments where I am irritated, but most of the time I just don’t care.”
“Dad, how do you do that?”
“Some people are like little dogs that yap at anything they see. Unless they try to bite me I usually ignore them.”
“But what if they try to bite?”
“Sometimes I’ll respond. I am not always good about ignoring them. Sometimes I respond but most of the time I don’t because it irritates them more to be ignored. I could tell people they are sanctimonious assholes who are too stupid to recognize how many people dislike them but there is not much upside to that.”
Dad Doesn’t Block People
I didn’t tell that teenager of mine about how rare it is for me to block someone on social media because he doesn’t really need to know this bit but I’ll share it with you.
If you readÂ Different Is Always WrongÂ you know it irritates me that people are so intolerant of opinions that differ with their own they’ll block or ignore people they disagree with.
I think it speaks volumes about a person who can’t accept that not everyone believes as they do. I am not talking about hate speech or things of that nature either.
Maturity has helped me refrain from telling idiots what I think of them but it hasn’t always stopped me from sometimes writing or posting something that is for their eyes.
Yeah, it is childish but sometimes I like tossing a grenade their way and not saying anything. Let them wonder if I meant for it to irritate them or if I shared it because I thought it was interesting.
Nine times out of ten it is solely because I thought it would make for an interesting discussion but every now and then…
Using Star Wars To Parent
“Dad, I still want to explain why I am still up. You have no idea how much work I have. I know I could have handled it differently but I didn’t. I want to try again.”
I smile at him and pull out my phone to show him a video he has seen a million times.
“There is no try here. You either manage your time better or you don’t. If you don’t get enough sleep you’ll end up getting sick and then you’ll really enjoy trying to catch up on the work you missed.”
I tell him I love him and that I am proud of him and I walk out of the room. Just before I go to sleep I look at the photo below and smile because I know my kids get it.