those are powerful words.
on one side, it is a sign of something held back. maybe it was something considered so minor, it didn’t have to be brought up. perhaps it was fear, that if you really knew how i felt, you’d think less of me or even reject me.
on the other hand, there is the courage of breaking through those barriers. perhaps, the barrier is this is significant enough to bring this forward or maybe it’s overcoming the fear of being thought less of for what has been held back for far to long.
that act of sharing is a courageous act, being vulnerable, exposing a little more who that person really is. sure, the person asking the question likely has every right to be asking that question. the problem is, in asking the question, they have not only overlooked the gift they have just received, they have also totally disrespected the vulnerable person fighting through their desire not to share.
by asking the question, the question asker expresses their distain that it took so long to get this bit of information, overlooking the courageous act. the person hearing this question is made to feel wrong for their inability to share before. they feel shame.
when the person receiving the bit of information can see it as a gift, they can be joyous of their new discovery. the person sharing gets treated with the utmost respect. they feel safe. that makes it all the easier for them to share the next time.
the choice is yours: distain and shame or gift and respect. given the choice, i’d eliminate that damaging statement from my mind. i hope you can do the same.
this is a recollection of one of my previous boss’ fatherly act.
into the wayback machine
the cases of bad parenting are close and nearly no space in between. that makes healthy cases worthy of a recognition. i often share a fathering incidence of yours and it’s about time i personally honor you.
you had set up your tightrope some sunny day at humongous. one of daughters slipped and took the rope up her inner leg. understandably, she cried. you went and comforted her. after she calmed down, you encouraged her to get back on the rope. she did. while she walked the rope you held her hand, stabilizing her recently rocked world.
this is right on so many levels.
- first, you taught her to try.
- when she fell, she found comfort in you, not admonished for showing emotions.
- you encouraged her to try again.
- you helped to conquer her challenge and gave her confidence for her next challenge she was sure to face.
to see such healthy acts of fathering, it is not difficult to assume this was not an isolated incidence but more of a normal occurrence around the your house.
i hope you recognize how you have helped to set up your daughters for success. i am certain you haven’t performed every fatherly act perfectly, but far closer to the idea than most fathers i have seen. as a matter of fact, for every father like you, i have seen far too many fathers fall far short of the example i saw you set that sunny day. hell, many fathers i see wouldn’t be able to accomplish one of the four above mentioned acts that you did in a matter of five minutes.
for that, i honor you. i don’t minimize your programing prowess with this next statement, but being a loving, caring, supportive father is far more important than any optimization or line of code that you ever wrote.
the lion don’t sleep tonight
and if you pull her tail she roars
ya say, “that ain’t fair”
ya say, “that ain’t right”
ya know what i say, “up yours!”
audrey ii little shop of horrors
i talked to a mom friend of mine. she has an eight year old daughter getting shunned on the playground. one instance, she wanted to play with a friend. her friend was playing with someone else. the third girl said, no, i’m playing with her. the friend’s daughter walked away alone.
not surprisingly, the daughter struggles with self-esteem. mom asked me what she could do. (we’re going somewhere with this.) i said the daughter needs to learn to stand on her own. mom asked, “but how?” in that moment, i had an epiphany.
i don’t care about what you think about me, but i do care how you treat me.
a friend of mine shared this mantra with me. with the sound of Aretha franklin echoing in my head, i thought about the saying, i realized the i do care how you treat me part represents a statement of respect and/or compassion. secondly, I realized how most people with social anxiety, at least at some level, struggle with respect.