Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Golden Apples

I had this speech teacher in college who was phenomenal (shout out, Dr. Kragel! not sure where he is now--Cedarville?) Anyway, I was so terrified of public speaking that I took the class at night so I wouldn't run into any of my friends or various boys I had crushes on and humiliate myself in front of them with my terrible speeches, and I ended up taking it with all sorts of cool, older people (older than 18) from around Chicago. It was great. Dr. Kragel would randomly toss in bon mots, great little pieces of advice he called "golden apples." The most important one I still remember: "Focus on the message, not on yourself."

I find that parenting is kind of like that--in between the feeding and clothing and chauffeuring and basic needs fulfillment, you're always trying to slip in a good word to your children--so that they'll know what's important in life. You figure they're probably not listening, but you do it anyway.

Then comes the sweet, sweet pay-off day when you realize they actually have been absorbing some of what you tell them.

Here is Elaine's example. She got a dollar one day in the Advent calendar, and I told her, "We can go to the dollar spot at Target and you can get something with that. You could pick yourself out a treat." She answered, "I would NOT get a treat with this dollar. I will buy lipstick."

Joy flooded my soul. Lipstick, more important than candy! (Of course I don't let her wear lipstick. She means chapstick. But the seed is there, people, the seed is there.)

And here is Lucy's example. Apropos of nothing, she made this announcement from the backseat.

"Mom, if it doesn't work out that I marry Daniel, then I'm going to marry Andrew. Because he loves God, and I love God. He's funny, and you know I'm funny," (she added unnecessarily). "And don't worry, Mom, we're both going to get jobs, and we'll work very hard together."

Hold onto that thought, little girl (for at least 20 years).

Maybe they haven't been listening all the times I've said, "Ladies don't eat like pigs at the trough," or "Flies and bees! Flies and bees!" (which is what I yell whenever they leave the patio door open, approximately 852 times a day). But the "don't-go-out-without-your-lipstick" and the "loves-God-and-has-a-job are requirements for a life partner" lectures stuck.

So, keep dropping those golden apples...they really do pick some of them up.


Kacie said...

Hilarious. You know I'm interested - I know you've been a working mom - did you also complete your MA with kids?

Alice said...

Kacie--no, I completed my MA before I had kids (finished in 2000; Lucy was born in '03). There's no way I could have done it after. I've toyed with doing my doctorate, but that will have to wait. A long time. Now I need the $$ for their educations!

Katie said...

ahem Alice, what is Lucy talking about other young suitors for? Are you not instilling in her young mind that she needs to look for a strong sharp country boy???? I thought we had a deal!

Alice said...

Oh Katie--our deal is still on for sure. I just let her think she has a little choice at this point. When the crucial time comes, the strong, sharp country boy will win. I'll see to it!