Some people might say I am the chicken in the picture above because I haven’t had some important conversations.
It bothers me not because I care about whether people think I am being a chicken but because I think I am.
What we think and how we feel about ourselves is almost always more important than what others say or see.
That is a lesson I impress and reimpress upon my children because it is that important.
Our self-esteem impacts everything about us and while it can be problematic to have an inflated sense it is just as bad to have none.
The People That Are Important To You
I have watched my children navigate friendships throughout their entire lives and have seen it evolve from theÂ playdatesÂ of their very young childhood to middle/high school relationships of the present.
Some friendships fizzled out and others have endured for all of the same sometimes inexplicable reasons we have experienced in our adult lives.
Sometimes it has led to hard moments for the kids and they have asked me for help in managing things.
“Go the distance for people that are important to you. Don’t let friendships wither and die because you didn’t say the things that need to be said.”
That is what I have said to them.
I have told them about D and how he died and how 18 years later I still miss that guy.
I should have told him I loved him like a brother and made it clear how much I valued his friendship.
Not because he didn’t know, because he did but some things mean more when we say them out loud and in person.
And the reason I am feeling torn up is I haven’t taken my own advice.
Ask me why and I’ll tell you it is a timing thing and I’ll say that it is not an excuse because timing can be critical.
Timing affects whether people are ready/willing to hear what you have to say and the words I haven’t shared yet haven’t been said because I don’t think they would be heard now.
But it isn’t easy for me to sit and wait.
And now a musical interlude.
Force The Circle Into The Square
If my 12 going on 30-year-old daughter was here she’d ask me how I could listen to Toby Keith and David Bowie right after each other and I’d tell her dad is a man of diverse tastes and complications.
I suspect she and I are heading towards a time when we’re going to have some more serious conversations about certain similarities in our personalities.
And I imagine that there are going to be some real interesting ones involving the differences between how boys and girls approach friendships/relationships.
Sometimes I think the big challenges come from those differences and how it can feel a bit like we are trying to force the circle into the square and vice-versa.
That is probably part of why I am feeling unsettled about this and why I am frustrated I haven’t been able to say what needs to be said.
But I am going with my gut and listening to my heart here. I am holding back because I don’t think if I tried to start the conversation it would be accepted.
Eventually there may come a time when I’ll have to speak my piece because timing doesn’t always cooperate with us, but for now I suppose I’ll sit on hands a bit longer.
That is really not easy for me. I am the guy who wants to say what is on my mind and get it out on the table because you can’t deal with things unless you talk about them.
Or maybe the real problem is theÂ chickenÂ thinks it is easier to say he can’t talk now because he fears what will be said in response and it is easier to blame it on timing.
Fathers Go The Distance
The other thing to share here is I can’t be the father who ignores his own advice.
I won’t say I never do the old “do as I say not as I do” thing but I make a real effort not to and in this case I am going to do as I say.
I’ll wait a bit longer and then I’ll go the distance and we’ll let the chips fall as they may. I always feel better when I have failed and tried than failed to try.
Damn, life can be so unnecessarily complicated sometimes.
John Kinnear September 20, 2016 at 10:25 am
I like you.
Jack Steiner September 20, 2016 at 10:36 am
Thanks. I like you too.