This is a conversation I experienced during this past week:
Niece: I’m tired of teachers piling work on. We just finished a novel, haven’t taken the test for it yet, and today our teacher gives us a new novel to start. So now, we have to remember what the old novel was about AND not get confused as we start reading the new novel.
My Mom: Well, maybe your teacher is trying to help you learn to multitask. Nothing in life is ever just one thing at a time.
Me: There are a lot of things teachers have to ‘fit’ in during the year.
Niece: *raising her eyebrows and giving a heavy sigh* Well, it looks like I need to talk about this with kids my own age!
I have to tell you, I nearly wet myself laughing. I’m sure it doesn’t read as funny as it actually was, but it was one of the best lines I’d heard in quite some time.
As I ran this conversation over in my mind and relayed it to Mr. Right, I started thinking…
Isn’t that what we all want – people who think like us, experience similar things in similar ways to us, who can relate to what is happening to us?
Isn’t there even a saying about birds of a feather and all that?
We tend to look for others who are like us in some manner.
Then I started thinking maybe my niece was looking for a little empathy.
Don’t we all just want people to recognize and acknowledge what we are experiencing?
Perhaps that’s why teenagers tend to pull away from their parents and gravitate toward their peers as they get older, after all, that’s what kids do…they agree that this sucks, that’s wrong, she’s this, he’s that…
As parents we often lose sight of how emotional and huge everything seems as a teenager.
Often desires for our kids to see a bigger picture can create in us a loss in our ability to let our kids know; we understand and get where they are coming from; we’re sorry they are going through it, and yes, ‘that does suck’!
Perhaps it’s time to give a little empathy instead of trying to ‘fix’ what others experience.