by Susan K. Williams
As I would walk the ivy covered halls of the university I was attending just a few short years ago, bits and pieces of conversation would strike out at me. "I want my own apartment so I can get away from my mother!" "Boy, I can't wait to get out of that house; my parents are driving me crazy!"
Well, of course we are. That's our job, or at least a good part of the job description. You see, we parents must pass a test before we are allowed to become your parents. We are required to meet strict criteria when applying for parenthood.
One of the major points of creative parenting ability is attention to details, minute details. For instance, the way you walk around the house, leaving a trail of bread crumbs, cookies, crackers and/or popcorn for US to clean up - to say nothing of the shirts, socks and shoes we find draped over the television sets, hung on the door frames or on top of the refrigerator.
Details are so meaningful in a parent-child relationship. They make communication an exciting adventurous journey into a world of nuances, innuendos, implications and sometimes, albeit rarely from parents, distortions of the truth.
Distortions usually come in the form of reasons for:
1. not coming home the same night you go out
2. receiving a "D" in statistics class
3. receiving a "W" in statistics class
Because we're paying the bills, including tuition,
strangely, we think we're entitled to:
1. an explanation
2. a rational justification
3. complete enlightment
We also have the uncanny ability to hear and see certain actions and/or events, another significant ability upon which we are tested.
Think you can whisper over the phone that tonight you're going to hit the bars with that "no good bum" we told you never to see again? Think again - we heard that! The driveway will be blocked with an Army tank so you can't get your car out. We're nailing the doors shut from the outside. We just contacted the local steel company to install bars on all the windows. And, in case he comes here, we've installed a hot wire all around the yard.
As you head out the door to study with your best friend at the library, your purse/backpack has suddenly become transparent. Is that a pack of cigarettes? And, after all our lectures on the dangers of smoking. Those aren't my new earrings are they? The ones I searched more than a year to find? Oh no! Oh my gosh! Don't tell me - that isn't a box of condoms??!!
Well, now you're going to get it. You're on the receiving end of the second most important ability we as parents must possess - The Lecture. We can and do talk on any given subject with the expertise of a professional speaker, the clarity of an English professor, the passion of a televangelist and the resonance of a trumpet. (I personally received very high marks in resonance.)
Parents also come equipped with a high degree of curiosity, argued by some to be the most essential element of parenting. Here's the way it works: If we want to know something about our child, what they are saying, what they are doing, who they are seeing, we simply follow them. We check out their drawers at home, call up their friends, go to the school, talk to their teachers and sometimes, we have even been known to sit in on their classes.
This is not called snooping, spying or interfering, we merely are keeping up with what our children are doing. We want to know if there is anything going on that we should know about so we can cut it off at the pass, nip it in the bud or prevent the ship from sinking. Sometimes, this can be called hovering. My children called it "invading their space".
Hovering is an art. It takes skill, cunning and a natural desire to know everything about your child. The schools themselves provided some of the best assets for making hovering possible. I belonged to all the clubs - the booster club, PTA, room mothers clubs, teachers' helpers, volunteer office help and any other group I thought would help me keep an eye on my kids.
Included in the realm of curiosity is the presumption that your rooms are our rooms - at least according to the parenting manual I read specifically giving me, the parent, the duty to inspect the living quarters of the above mentioned children.
We parents have an awesome responsibility raising our children. We feel it is our duty, our life's work, to make sure that everything we do is with their best interests in mind.
So, why on earth would they want privacy when they can take advantage of all our parenting skills? Why would they want to move in with strangers who aren't like us? After all, we're only doing it for your own good.
Originally settling in the Tomball/Magnolia area, Texas, Susan raised a menagerie of animals including calves, pigs, ducks, chickens, ferrets, rabbits and the usual numerous dogs and cats along with raising children and a husband. Eventually the children grew up and so did the ex, leaving Susan in a completely empty nest. That's when the opportunity of a lifetime arose and she was able to begin the process of receiving her life's dream of an education. Following her graduation in 1997 from the University of Houston, Susan embarked on her writing and speaking career. Today, she is a communications consultant, helping people and companies with their communications needs. Susan also is an enthusiastic motivational speaker, who loves to motivate others into going after their dreams with her true-life stories; and she is an accomplished children's storyteller using her alter persona of Auntie Suzie to create vivid imagery in a child's mind with her original Animal Tails.
Susan can be contacted at www.communicatewithimpact.com