So, a friend (I use the term loosely here) said to me, "can we talk privately?" Meaning out of earshot of the kids.
She went on to "inform" me of what she observed of my parenting style.
I won't gossip about what she said, but suffice to say, she had some pretty sound conclusions as to why my child isn't acting the way she imagines a good child should act and much of it boils down to my parenting style.
I listened for about all I could take, then I finally said, "let's get to the paper." She had been clutching a note. Turns out there was a sketchy bit that had my kid's personality written all over it. So, yeah, I talked to said kid about it afterwards and we came to the conclusion it probably wasn't the best choice to make. So, my kid erred in judgment. But, ultimately, the friend implied that my child wouldn't have stumbled if I were--how would she have put it?--a better parent.
Now, I was proud of myself. I took the high road. I even apologized. And, I thanked her for her concerns. Certainly, the fact they are moving to Pennsylvania next month helped my calm attitude. I do wonder how I would have responded if they were going to continue to be a part of our lives. Naturally, I would want to salvage the relationship--my kid adores hers and vice versa--but I would probably have to have a long talk about our different parenting styles, and how it's okay that we're different. Though, I think she's probably a person who thinks there's only one way to slice a banana.
Do you ever find yourself critical of how others parent, or handle their dog, or workout, or spend their free time, or slice a banana? I do. There are so many times I just want to say to someone, "STOP doing that! You're making a mess of things!" It's really easy to see how other people are doing it wrong. It's easy to see the speck of sawdust in their eyes, and tell them to get it out of there. Ah. But it's MUCH harder to see our planks bulging out of our sockets. We all have a giant plank.
Maybe I do need to look at some of the things which my "friend" pointed out about my parenting. But, she doesn't know what really goes on in our house, and she was drawing some pretty broad conclusions. She doesn't know how far my kid has grown on my kid's scale. She doesn't have a child with my child's personality. You can't put up one child or one parent as a blueprint for all others to aspire. God didn't make us that way. He made us unique people. There was a reason God gave me the children he gave me, because he wanted me to raise them the way I would raise them.
After explaining the encounter to my husband, I thought his comment was rather interesting. When he finally understood which friend's child I was talking about, he said, "Oh, you mean the one that doesn't smile?"
I pray for them and wish them the best. I hope her daughter can find some joy while she is busy behaving properly for her mom. I hope my daughter can make some better decisions in the future.
But, most of all, I hope I can again take the high road the next time I'm confronted about my speck. And also remember that there's a plank in there, too.
"Why do you look for the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye, and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye?" ~Matthew 7:3