Apparently the four most terrifying words in a relationship. Except that our relationship is ALL about me talking. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to continue that trend in our fantastically one-sided conversations.
First of all it’s more like: WE NEED to talk. The collective, infinitely plural we. People. Humans. We need to talk. Sometimes just getting together and shooting the shit (figuratively speaking) is a good thing. It’s a good thing, because it lets us know that we have people that we can talk to. But we also need to be talking to our kids, and it can’t be a one sided interrogation. This is important for me right now, Bug is having a hard time at school, and it’s not bullying. He doesn’t feel as though he is being seen for who he is. At 8, this is fairly normal. They have finally got a real grasp on this school thing we force them to go to, and they are starting to realise that they can change how they behave socially, and that it will cause ripples on the surface of the pond, which interact with someone else’s ripples. Popularity, and being cool are now important.
It is important that he knows I understand. So I tell him true stories about when I was his age. About the bullying I suffered, about the bullying I’m responsible for. It’s insanely important in this endeavor not to lie. And not to explain things too long term, sure I had to put up with the same crap. But he can’t understand that none of it will matter in ten years.
He thinks that Alvin the Chipmunk is the height of cool, and we had a talk about how Alvin treats his friends. Which is not great, I asked Bug if he would want to be friends with Alvin. He said no. Then we decided that we need to remake cool. We need to make it something we can be proud to be real friends with.
Our current thing is RAK. Random Acts of Kindness. Just little things, to make people smile. Saying something nice about someone’s style, or paying for someone on the bus. Smiling at a stranger on the bus. All of this in addition to simple manners.
It is interesting that we come to this point as I watch 13 Reasons Why. It reminded me that people under 25 feel everything amplified, always and forever… and that’s just in the moment. I’m in no way minimising the bad things that happened to the characters, nor am I defending any of their behaviour. I’m saying that it reminded me how they feel things. Because we adults do forget. It also reminded me that we need to talk. There’s that collective, infinitely plural again.
But we also need to listen.