“I don’t give a shit if kids take too many selfies or listen to bands I don’t like. They’re smarter, braver and care more than we give them credit for, and that’s pretty much always been the case.”
– Zack Foley
(I hope you’ll pardon my French with that quote above, but censoring it just wouldn’t have packed the same punch.)
I had been toying with a blog idea in my head for a while when I scrolled through Facebook and the above quote caught my attention. A friend of mine was quoting a friend of his and what he had to say fit right along with the blog I had in my head. So, I asked permission to share it and there you have it. And here’s why I liked it so much.
So incredibly true.
Case in point: my daughter, Kelly. Those kids Mr. Foley refers to in his quote? Oh yeah, my kiddo fits it to a tee. That little selfie-taking, weird-music-loving teenager of mine is everything that quote describes. Especially that last part.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Richard and I were…um, let’s say…having some “issues.” Okay, let’s just call it what it was. We were fighting. And it was bad. Now, if you haven’t heard me mention this before, Richard is a very quiet man. VERY quiet. So, when I say “fighting,” what I mean is…we weren’t speaking to each other. (Even I get tired of yelling when no one yells back.) These non-communication fights have a tendency to drag on forever, as I’m sure you can imagine, since nothing ever gets talked about or worked on, and this particular fight was no exception. And while we try to hide our arguments from the kids, they aren’t dummies. We go from being the happiest, cuddliest couple in the world to not wanting to be in the same room? Yeah, they kinda figure something is up.
Well, this time, Kelly wasn’t having it.
She sent both of us a group Facebook message. And I want to show it to you. Now, I’m editing it a bit to keep out the details of the argument (I’d hate to broadcast publicly how WRONG Richard was, ya know…bless his heart…), but I’ll put enough here for you to get the gist. Check this out:
“Okay. Y’all are getting on my nerves again. Fighting over really stupid stuff…..To be honest, you both are acting like middle schoolers. You guys get in a fight, don’t try to fix it or don’t want to talk about it, and just act like you don’t care. You do. I know I’m only 14 but I have sense….I know you both love each other and I know you care about each other, so start acting like it…Suck it up and be the couple all of us know you are.”
Okay, so I’m aware that I could be mad that she spoke to adults like that. The whole “ya’ll are getting on my nerves” and “suck it up” parts aren’t the most respectful terms she could’ve used, of course. But you know what? She was absolutely right. Absolutely 100% right.
She didn’t know every detail of the argument we were having, but it really didn’t matter. The details aren’t the point. The point is that, even at 14, she could see that we weren’t handling things the way we were supposed to. She could see the love that he and I were forgetting during our anger. She could see that we needed a reminder to “be the couple that everyone knows we are.”
Now, I’m not sure how Richard immediately felt when he read this (after all – we weren’t speaking), but me? I instantly felt the tears coming to my eyes. Not only because I knew she was right…I so love that big doofus-head boyfriend of mine with every ounce of my being…but because she cared enough to stick her nose in and try to get us back on track. That took guts. And a heart.
And I’m so proud of her.
(By the way, Richard’s written response to her message? “No fair – why do you get to be the smartest one in the family?”) Heh.
Now, with all this said, I just want to clarify: I’m not saying the kid knows everything. (Although if you ask her, she’d probably disagree with that statement.) She still has lots and lots to learn yet. (Don’t we all?) But what I am saying is this: sometimes it sure does help to look at things through the simple, caring, knowing eyes of a child. They see a lot more than we give them credit for, and they have a lot to tell us if we’ll take the time to listen.
Sometimes the details just don’t matter. Sometimes, you just have to get back to the heart of the matter…the love that lies dormant underneath all the chaos. And sometimes…a lot of times, actually…it takes a child to help you do that.
“In youth men are apt to write more wisely than they really know or feel; and the remainder of life may be not idly spent in realizing and convincing themselves of the wisdom which they uttered long ago.”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne