Once again I find myself going on my sister Kate’s theory of raising children. She and her husband Frank have raised four wonderful men based on this theory. These are handsome young guys with great humor and even more fabulous souls.
Years ago I went whining down to Geneva (on Interstate 90 about 70 miles per hour) to a little town in Ohio where Kate and Frank had built their home. As soon as I got out of the car I plopped my fanny in Kate’s living room and started to whine waa…the kids…waa…the bills…waa…my life. Well Kate was wonderful as usual and told me a story. She understood at the time I was having real problems keeping my hands off my kids, I had never been a slacker in that corporal punishment department but things were getting to be too much for me. I was getting old and at the age of 13, the kids could have taken me in a fair fight, good thing I don’t fight fair, always used the element of surprise. My kids (Fraternal Twins boy and girl) both had death wishes. She explained she had been there with all her kids.
Unbelievable, those wonderful guys I thought? How can that be? Then she told me a story about the “Need to Know Basis”It seems one of the boys buddies wanted to confess one evening and he picked Kate (a most understanding of Moms). But of course he also wanted to confess anything he could about her boys, to soften the blow about himself. At that point Kate stepped in and explained it was not necessary to tell her anything about her own boys, if they had wanted her to know they would tell her. She explained to this young man the “Need to Know Basis” that she worked on.
Having been forced by circumstances (one sons heart surgery, her lupus, her husbands back injury and another son’s repeated sports injuries) Kate had spent way, way too much time being well informed about what scary things this life could do to both herself and her children. So she told this young man to keep his stories to himself, and in one stroke she gave her children the dignity and respect they deserved. Something to this day those boys give back to her in kind. While she was at it, Kate educated both this young man and myself with laughter and compassion on life’s realities…things are tough enough you can’t hide out from reality too often but occasionally you can soften the blow.