03 May 2009

DND

One thing I didn't realize when I was a kid was how much my parents' friends knew about me. Once I came by a piece of extremely personal information about one of my friends which had been leaked at a council of moms. I was horrified for my friend that this datum had left the privacy of her home. This was in high school, which accounts for my ultimately self-conscious horror, but not, in my opinion, for the secret-sharing. Christians can and will pray for each other without the details of every situation.

There's a point at which the functions of our childrens' bodies, the misfirings of their minds, the falterings of their souls, their dreams and sins become no one's business but theirs and their parents'. That information belongs primarily to them, not us. Maybe I'm hung up on this because I'm a little overprotective of my own privacy and find myself wondering what my parents' contacts, with whom I still occasionally interact, know about my not-even-that-misspent youth. But there are already things I wouldn't "tell on" my kids. It goes beyond bathtub photos. I know my daughter wouldn't want me ratting her out on certain topics and events to her grandma or friends, and she's six.

When in possession of a funny, cathartic, or burdensome story, parents should consider carefully their children's confidence in them before they start talking shop. What is to be gained by sharing this information? Does it really need to be shared, and if so, how much of it? What would my child think if she knew this person knew? I'm not saying we can't talk; just that we should remember the power of our words.

12 comments:

Beth said...

I am slain... on the floor... convicted.
Thank you for the reminder.

Tena said...

Yeah ... what Beth said. *slinks away in search of band-aids*

Joy said...

When I started menstruating my mom called everyone to tell them I'd become a woman. I was beyond embarassed at the time and still don't see how that was kind or necessary.

Rebekah said...

Aw, girls . . . I didn't mean to slay anybody. Except maybe Joy's mom. :D

Melrose said...

oh man, bandaids?!? I need bandages, really really HUGE bandages!!! :(

Wow, my oldest is only 3, but he as of late has become very aware of my story telling, in particular when I'm sharing something about him. I never even thought about it that way...thank you Rebekah.

Sarah D. said...

My mom told the world too about a certain visitor. But, really, when I think back...not that big of deal. I was not really embarrassed.

I plan to respect my children's confidence, but I also don't really care anymore what my parents leaked.

I used to be a really private person, and found that when I became less private that my relationships between friends and family deepened and became richer.

There is something to that walking together thru good and bad times. And the inbetween times.

Liz said...

You know, my cousins and I were talking as adults. One thing I noted to my mom is that my sisters and I never grew up under the shadow of "What if Granny found out?" OK, it helped a great deal being the kids of the least favorite of her children, so we could do no right in the first place, but it gave us freedom to be kids.

Reb. Mary said...

Good point. I think it's pretty common, particularly for first-time parents, to view kids' "antics" as fodder for a good chuckle between friends (Guilty!). As BoyOne, a rather sensitive soul, has grown, I've become increasingly circumspect in what I view as appropriate conversation material, in or out of his earshot.

L. R. Jensen said...

Amen. Though I did make my mom twenty bucks through her big mouth. I came home from a date. She said, "Didja kiss him yet?" I said, "Nope." She promptly called her best bud and declared, "You owe me twenty bucks." Did I mention she's not so discreet? I've had more than one occassion where my big mouth has left a crestfallen look on my child's face, or my child has declared something embarrassing that I've learned about someone else. I'm constantly learning.

lisa said...

My almost-two-yr-old will often look up at me quietly in the middle of her playing to listen to the story I'm telling about her or how our morning went. My husband and I have started giving her (realistic) praise when she's in earshot AND out of earshot regarding her behavior when obedient, dutiful, kind, thoughtful.. I see this as an extension of not talking about certain embarrassing things (she has either been told is normal or has already been disciplined for) bc she has BIG ears and it does slay me when I see mistrust in her BIG eyes (and I have seen it before).
I also try to think about my complaints to my husband that I make morning, afternoon, evening...such as, ex. "Sometimes I'm just tired - when do I get a break? Sometimes I'm sick of being Mommy"
No harm no foul now - but what about when my daughter can get out of her bed by herself and is sitting at the corner listening? oops..
I'm as guilty as the next guy, but I'm learning lots about complaining in private, chuckling in private, and *trying* to express my discomfort and down-right-deserved-tiredness in ways that won't make my kids feel like mommy would rather not be a mommy for fifteen minutes...
bc if I really think about it - that Episcopal-crap post that follows this one about abortion has seeds in my poor attitude. I might never abort them but boy do I sometimes drive my children to sin with my disrespect for my calling.

I guess that's a bit off the topic, but when my conscience is pricked usually the five other sins underneath it get pricked also.. :)

Reb. Mary said...

Lisa: good points, and not a-tall off topic, imho. . . May God have mercy on us all, indeed.

Rebekah said...

>>when my conscience is pricked usually the five other sins underneath it get pricked also

Ach! Truth!