We are coming to a close of our Family Feedback of the year. One son remains to give and receive his feedback with his parents. This is the fourth in the series of posts to give you a glimpse into one our most precious and powerful family moments.
Click here for our How To’s.
Read on to learn how my son told me to be more generous and I encouraged him to grow by working simple jobs of manual labor or service.
Feedback to Mom
We are seated at the dinner table and the boys chose to go around in the order of seating. It’s our second son who finally got the floor.
Son (17 years): “Mom, what I really appreciate is your flexibility with letting me spend time (like the night) with my girlfriend.”
This is a very delicate issue between us because his behavior is in contradiction with my values. Yet, you see, my job as a parent is to provide him with an education and to present him with a set of values. He graduated from high school this summer and now lives out of our home. My role as a mother has evolved now: to allow my son to fly with his own wings. I did my BEST while he was under our roof. It is his life, not mine. I have made mistakes and learned some of my best lessons from them. He too will blunder. He might choose some or none of my values for his life. He will live with the consequences of those choices.
With regards to my life and beliefs, I try to follow Jesus Christ. Try. Because invariably I fail. But Jesus loves me. Still. So, if I follow Christ, I am to love. Still. And loving my son now means to be “less of me and more of him.”
Mom: “I’m glad you appreciate it.”
Son: “I really don’t have a way where you could change…”
This is our son who has complained and COMPLAINED about …everything and anything. He’s an expert at finding faults. We have purposefully taught him to identify other people’s strength and to encourage them. It’s been WORK.
Son: “…ah yes. You didn’t do it this year for Christmas, but sometimes you offer people the gifts you would like to receive.”
Mom: “What do you mean, exactly?”
Son: “Last year you gave everyone kitchen tools. The ceramic knife, the knife holder, the latest fashion cookbook…you used them all.”
Embarrassingly, this is all true!
Mom: “I see (all too clearly) what you mean.”
Son: “Ok, what about me?”
Transmiting a Vision of Thriving to My Child
Mom: “What you have done excellently last year is master your schoolwork. You graduated with honors. Intelligence contributes to these results, and you also worked for those grades. You exhibited discipline and determination…along with balance in your social and spiritual dimensions of life. And it was not just last year. This year your academic demands are even heftier and you’re at the top of your class and keeping up with a life.”
Dad: “You’re ranked N°1 in your class?”
Son: “Didn’t you know?”
Banter between son and father where the younger bull gets to show off his size and the senior one grunts his consent.
Mom: “And what you could do to change is considering getting a job. Try working for money. The jobs you’ll have at your age are mostly entry level manual labor or service positions. It’s a good thing to know first-hand the value of sweat and smile.”
Son: “I’ve thought of that. But you see, I don’t feel the neeeeeed to work yet. (oh, oh!) I work at school and then deserve a vacation. I can afford not to work now.”
Mom: “You can afford it? Who’s paying for your time off? Until when? Why?
Now that you have more of the privileges of adulthood, isn’t time that you also take on more of those responsibilities too?”
Mom: “Aagh! It’s tough when you want to eat your cake and keep it too!” (In French we say, ‘To have the butter and the money for the butter.’ ‘Avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.’)
We can all relate…and smile.
Dad: “Are we finished with the analysis and mutual-flagellation?”
Everyone: “Poooooor Dad!” “If it were THAT bad, why did you stay with us?” “Yes, dear ”
Mom: “Everyone clear his plate and takes at least one other thing back to the kitchen!”
Thus closed the evening meal and the Family Annual Review.
Follow Through on the Family Feedback
Our comments now hang in our Frame of Fame…where they’ll stay several weeks and re-appear from time to time over the year…as behaviors might deteriorate and the need arises to
- be humble,
- be generous,
- think before speaking,
- advance step-by-step, or
- dress one’s age
Enjoy this year’s whole Family Feedback series: