In passing, I overheard a heart-sinking exchange between a father and son. “Hey, Dad, what’s Grandpa’s phone number?” His father frowned. “What’s the matter with you? You know the number—you call it all the time! Are you a retard?”
If it pained me to bear witness to such harshness, I can only imagine its impact on his son.
I remember how strongly I felt the urge to ask the father how he would like his son to feel about himself in the years to come. Like most fathers, he would undoubtedly convey that he wanted his son to have a positive impression of himself.
I would then ask: Do you think your current treatment of him is planting those seeds?
As parents, whenever we lead, correct, discipline, teach or talk to our children, we need to be asking ourselves: Is my child’s spine bent or a little straighter as a result of this interaction?
Does my child hold his head up high or does it hang low?
A heart-opening exercise for the father would be to take a moment and imagine his boss standing over him making derogatory comments just as he had done to his son. Possibly—hopefully so!—it would activate some healthy soul-searching and trigger some serious renovation work on his part.
How could this scenario have played out differently? How could the father have been a force for self-esteem enhancement versus the opposite?
I visualize the father putting his hand reassuringly on his son’s shoulder, looking warmly into his eyes and saying: You know the number…I know you do.
And after patiently waiting, if his son is still unable to recall the number, his father would respectfully and kindly provide it.
Isn’t this the way we all wish to be treated?
Such treatment can’t help but cultivate healthy plants…everywhere!
(c) Salee Reese 2019