One of my favorite things about being a dad is passing on the things I have learned to my kids. I told them early on that they should learn from my mistakes in life, of which there are a plethora. When they actually pay attention and use my suggestions, it’s among my favorite moments in life.
I recently had a talk with my daughter about boys. One of many talks, actually. She’s getting to the point in life where the boys her age are starting to base their decisions off of other things than reason and responsibility. She kind of understood, but kind of didn’t. So I broke it down like this: One day, a boy who you think you know very well will do something completely out of his character so much so that it will make you feel like you have never known the boy at all. It may be heartbreaking, it may be disappointing, but it will definitely happen. She didn’t quite get what I was saying so I told her, “when it happens, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Just this week, she’s starting to get her first taste of that. A boy who she’s known for a little over a year is rumored to be doing some things that she doesn’t approve of. She came barreling down the stairs explaining to me in a frenzy how she just won’t stand for this, that’s not the type of person she is and if that’s who he is, then he can stay away from her, yada yada yada.
Two dads showed up from me that day. The first dad was proud of her passion to stay on the right path in life and happy to see her want to distance herself from the boy.
She’s my daughter, after all, boys need to stay away! Then, nerdy, teaching-moment dad showed up. I asked her what the situation was. She explained how these friends from school told her the boy was doing some things he shouldn’t be, legally. So I asked: “have you seen this?” She said “no.” I go on, “So how can you be so sure these things are true?”
If they are true, which they very well could be, then she’s got the right reaction to it. However, I know how middle school kids can spread rumors. I told her that she can’t be so quick to judge a person on what a couple of other people say they do. I’ve been a public figure in several different cities and have heard different very false rumors about myself in each one. I also told her that she’d get a much more honest response if she approached the boy with it calmly and maturely rather than like the rabid chihuahua she sounded like just minutes before our conversation. Hopefully I’m right.
Middle school is a weird time. It’s when kids start to figure out who they are and who they’re going to be. If that does turn out to be the person that kid is going to be, I’m glad my daughter wants to distance herself from it. I’m also very glad that she can take a lesson from the whole situation.
As a dad of a beautiful young lady, I know that I have many years of these situations and talks with my daughter. I hope I can help along the way. I had a hard enough time figuring out who I was at 13; it’ll be tough figuring out who these other boys are and who they’re going to be to my daughter.
As for the situation with the boy in question, it could end good or it could end badly. Because I usually find comfort in music, I put a note in her lunch the next day. It was a quote usually attributed to her favorite singer, Bob Marley (yea, I know, we raised a good one!). It read: “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”