by Sam Cohen DC
The other day I was giving “unsolicited” for advice to my 16 year old girl. I originally started offering my advice to her when she about 2. That’s right, 2 years old. You want to know what it consisted of at that time?
“Rachel, there is a law in this country that says that you always dip your chocolate chip cookies into milk… It’s the law!”
Well, that is when I started, and have apparently never stopped. It’s not that I believe that I am so wise. It’s simply that I think teenagers are somewhat… how shall I put this politically correct? Dumb, yeah that’s it. How do I know this? Because I have carefully observed them for a few years at close proximity, and listened quietly at their door once or twice. But most importantly my knowledge comes from the fact that I was one for 7 long years.
Maybe I should rephrase my conclusion and refer to that as somewhat “life experience challenged.” I like the sound of that better. I sound more authoritative. Don’t you think?
Anyway, back to my lectures. They started as advice, and got labeled as lectures when my kids didn’t want to hear them any longer.
Over the years they have ranged from, “don’t pick that,” to “If you do that you will get a sexually transmitted disease, or pregnant.”
You can see the scope they have taken on.
I have been asked on more than one occasion to stop the lectures, and I really tried. Maybe they should make a patch or something to help parents quit because sometimes they just sort of slip out.
I have had to come up with inventive ways to give them. One of the more creative ones was conjured up one day at after school pick up.
Rachel got in the car and we drove off. I started shaking my leg and she looked over at me. Good, I had her attention now. Then I started trembling through my mid-section and she was captivated. I grabbed my neck, and at this point she asked if I was ok.
You would have thought that question would have arisen from my loving child sooner, but so be it. And yes, I was driving while this was taking place.
I answered her. ” I can feel it coming up my leg into my body, and now it’s in my throat.”
“What?” she asked “A LECTURE,” I stated.
“Here it comes, and there is no stopping it now. It’s in the back of my mouth, and it doesn’t taste good.”
She started laughing at this point.
I started coughing, and it started to come out all at once.
“Don’t do drugs, Don’t have sex until I am dead for 5 years, and Get straight A’s”
Ahh… the relief.
She thought this was so funny. Finally a breakthrough. I had a lecture that didn’t leave her flopping on the floor.
It was not one of my better ones by far. It was strictly about the presentation. I could have won an academy award for my acting and skillful driving that I performed on this particular day.
One other time after a “lecture” my daughter said to me, “dad, you have told me this so many times before.”
At that point I reflexively answered as if I had practiced this line 100 times, (which I did not). “Rachel, my ‘lectures’ are not for you.”
She sat up straight and looked me in the eye.
“They are for me. You see, I don’t expect you to be perfect, and I know that you will make some mistakes… we all do. I just need to know in my heart that I warned you more than a few times about certain events that may occur and their consequences.”
She looked baffled, and asked, “Your lectures aren’t for me?”
“Yes they are for you, but they are also for my peace of mind for future reference. I need to know that I told you that the stove was hot, that if you don’t study, you won’t get your ‘A’s, and if you become involved with a boy especially at your young age, you will only give, or receive a broken heart, and it is gonna hurt either way.”
I don’t claim to have all of the answers. None of us do. But as parents we have to do what we were programmed to do when babies came into this world. That is love, protect, and eventually, slowly let go.
I am not ready to let my “little” girl go yet, but she seems to be going any way.
I need to know that in my quiet times, that I have a little less to worry about because she can recite my lectures by heart.
She once asked me if I thought I had all the answers and I fiendishly said yes (I was setting her up.)
I told her to ask me anything. So she thought for a while, and said, “What is the meaning of life?”
I intentionally wrinkled my forehead, and acted as if I was in deep thought, and then replied “Google it.” Why not? She googled things before such as “if there really is a Santa Claus.” Try to debate a kid with google on their side. Geeeesh!
Ultimately, all kidding aside. It is never about my lectures. If she listened closely, what she would hear in between the words is “I love you so much. Please make good decisions when I am not there to help you.”
You see that is the theme of every single lecture I have ever given.
No matter what the topic, it all boiled down to the same theme.
I heard more than my share when I was a kid, but what would I give just to hear my mom and dad give me one of those long lectures just one last time. They may be gone, but the “lectures” live on.