It was just this morning when I realized I’ve fallen prey to the “teachable moments” mentality that parenting experts have been touting for years. In a very annoying way. And I mean me, not them. As we drove to school, my son said, “Mom, if I hold this cup of hot chocolate with a stiff arm, it spills out of the lid. If I keep my arm flexible, it doesn’t.”Without missing a beat, I immediately went into teachable moment mode. Roll tape.“You’re right. Just like in life. If you can stay flexible, you don’t feel the bumps as much. If you can’t, it hurts a lot more when the unexpected hits.”
To his credit, he skipped the eye roll, smiled and said to me, “You relate just about everything that happens to life, don’t you?”
Yes, I do, poor child.
There’s the lecture on the frantic, skinny squirrel in our backyard who waited too long to store away a winter’s supply of food. Of course, I launched into my planning ahead and breaking projects into increments talk.
There’s the dog park talk, usually occuring when our dog takes another pooch’s stick while playing and manages to keep it. My take on it? Nothing beats enthusiasm, energy and persistence. You don’t have to be the brightest dog in the park to reap the rewards. But, you do have to mean what you do.
Are you vomiting yet?
Yes, I’m obnoxious. Yes, I sound like a bad Disney or Veggie Tales movie. But if you’re a parent, you can’t tell me this is not in our genes. We can blame our parents for it, right? And for not giving us the teachable moment on the benefits of silence.
Tomorrow, I begin practicing my closed-mouth Mona Lisa smile when tempted to “teach.” I will limit myself to one lesson per month.
This may require duct tape.