Do you remember times growing up when you told adults what they wanted to hear? Why did we do that? In our youth we should have felt free to say exactly what was on our mind.
I remember my grandma would buy my sister and me a dress each Easter. It was our Easter Sunday dress. Usually I hated it. I would wear it on Easter Sunday and then hide it in the back of my closet in hopes that she would never remember that she purchased it for me (or that I never wore it again). As I got older my mom encouraged me to just tell my grandma that I did not like it and that I would like to return it. It was always hard for me to tell her. I felt awful. I always thought I was hurting her feelings. Bummer, right?
So…I wonder…what is it that makes kids feel they cannot be upfront? What made me just want to hide the dress and not discuss it with her? Partly I think it had to do with my dad who often would shut us down if we ever got the guts to confront him (which was rare). I think it imbedded into my thick skull that confrontation and speaking my mind was a bad thing. I was being disrespectful to my elders.
Something shifted inside me in college, almost to the opposite extreme, where now it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut. Now, that does not mean that I do not hold back. It also does not mean that I just steamroll everyone. I am pointed and thoughtful about my confrontation, but I feel less and less uncomfortable with saying what needs to be said.
What if we were able to raise children that had no fear of taking risks? Of speaking their mind and confronting their elders rationally? Does that teach them how to continue in their life with strength, poise, and determination? Sounds better to me than putting on that balloon dress to avoid confrontation.
What do you think?