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Doing Our Part to Raise Better People

I was recently talking with my friend Cynthia, and I shared a story with her about one of my nephews. She thought it was a such a nice story and would make a good blog topic, so here goes …

I should back up a bit first …

When my kids were growing up, I always talked very frankly and openly with them.  I wanted to raise sweet, kind and thoughtful people who didn’t shy away from communication. And with my boys in particular, I tried to talk with them about the way they should treat women. 

When I would have my period, I would try to plant the seed for them … encouraging them that someday when their girlfriends or wives had menstrual cramps, they could maybe run her a warm bath with the glass of wine and tell her you’ll take care of the kids. That may seem silly, or even overly ambitious, but I was convinced that I could raise a different kind of man.  

As they were growing up, I got a glimpse into how things are from a guy’s perspective. I think I can speak for many of us women when I say we often read so much into things. He didn’t call so he must not like me, etc. Well I witnessed some of this first-hand, and I know from my boys that it’s often not the case. They simply don’t think like us (And sometimes they’re not even thinking at all).

So, from their earliest relationships, I encouraged them to be different. To be upstanding and thoughtful. To communicate with their girlfriends. And not to rely on things like texting or emailing as their means for communicating. 

Recently, one of my nephews mentioned a dilemma he was having with a girl he was dating. It was early on in their dating, and while he liked her, he suspected she was a little ahead of him in regards to seriousness. They are similar in age, but clearly in very different places in their lives. He’s young and having fun … she’s got a little more of a plan in mind and was looking for a serious boyfriend. 

My nephew had decided to break up with the girl, but she was out of town. So he commented that it didn’t want to lead her on anymore, and maybe he should just text her to let her know.  I encouraged him to be a different kind of man. Yes, it would be a hard conversation, but if the girl was really as great as he said, she deserved to hear that. And to hear the real reason he was ending the relationship in person. 

He agreed and waited, and when she returned he went over to see her face to face.  I was so proud of him! Afterward, he said he felt really good about it … and she even texted him later to say how much she appreciated his honesty. 

Conversations or confrontations like this are never easy! But the aftermath is so worth the short-term discomfort! Think about how much better our relationships, and the world for that matter, would be if we all approached each other with that level of openness and respect.  And it’s not just romantic relationships either! Friendships, family and even co-worker relationships would be so much better and stronger in the long run.

So, I encourage you to try it for yourself. And if you’ve got kids (or nieces and nephews), I really encourage you to talk with them about things like this … and push them to do the same. I’m convinced that we can be and can raise better people!

11 Comments

  1. Aunt MB, I really love this. Great story. Xoxo Ben

  2. Great blog in this time and age. I’m trying to get my children to talk more to their friends face to face, but with the technology they have now it’s hard.😞 I’m going to keep trying!

  3. Kayla Sheaffer

    MB….Again a super awesome NEEDED discussion about honesty…That’s always been my approach and although I cannot have kids I AM the worlds greatest Auntie KK! I always told my friends that to me their kids are precious cargo so when it comes to life lessons I have been trusted MANY times with sharing honest lessons and examples with my friends kids because they trust me and sometimes they think of me as an old kid who gets down on THEIR level and LiStEnS…It amazing how honesty, sincerity and integrity can change a child’s life…The best compliment I recently got from my friends son who’s known me since birth, was how grateful and thankful he is to have recently read a Facebook post of mine where I said that I was lucky to be a part of my friends children lives and how much kids me to me…He posted back how great it made him feel for me to say I love spending time with him. I knew then that my job to make him feel loved and be appreciative of the people around him that love him and that he loves. WE can help make Lil’ Humans see the path to a more kind, compassionate, future adult! Great!Blog! So good to see you posting more and with new member Berkeley!!! What a pup!xo

  4. I love this topic as well, especially just that your instincts were to prepare your children to be good people in the world. I take that approach as well. As another example, my oldest daughter is so different from me and so much like her Dad, my husband. They are both every bit as sensitive as I am, but very much the people who react first without thinking of the impact on others. The good news is that they get their emotions out and don’t suppress them to please others. However, I want very much for her to be aware of the impact of her words on others, her family first. I understand her more because I understand him and vice versa and, as she grows, I am learning to take a different approach with her in times of conflict than I might instinctively take. Just sharing, but in a nutshell, the blog made me THINK today and also made me remember that I do some things well as a parent!

  5. Joanne Conte

    Thank you for this blog. When I was young, I would always ran rather than face a confrontation. Now, my mantra has become “The truth will set you free.” It is so absulutely freeing to be honest!

  6. I so need this reinforcement today. My daughter is going through something not pleasant at work and it’s all based on someone who cannot communicate face to face. I have pretty much taught her similar to what you say here. I’m proud of how she’s handled the issue. Too bad I can’t say the same about the owner.

  7. I can’t love this enough!! All so true. <3

  8. Melissa Barth

    I absolutely agree with your words. I don’t have children but I am an integral part of my nieces and nephews lives and this has been my goal since they were born. When the kids act up, I feel it is important to have a discussion to talk about their actions and how they impact others. At the end of these conversations we have a question that is always asked…”Did these actions make you a good/better person? The answer is usually No. So we then talk about the ways to be a better person going forward.

    Communication is key as they are all 10 and under, so discussions now will help them later in life.

    Thank you again!

  9. How very insightful and so very true this blog is! I had to read it a couple of times.
    I especially found true how much as women we read into things said and done. While men may not think thst something said or done has hurt us.
    As humans we both have to be more thoughtful and understand one another’s feelings and how we might view the world differently. We can always ask the other person what they meant by their words or actions hopefully face to face. Unfortunately social media can make complex relationships harder to understand.
    Thank you again MaryBeth for another thought provoking blog.

  10. Terrific topic! I’m working on making my boys kind, considerate, and cuddly. I also agree with getting a glimpse at the male motivation (or lack thereof) by raising boys. There really is something to that Mars/Venus belief!
    And…I’m working on the texting issue. I’m terrible. I have never really liked phone conversations and my husband and me struggle over who has to call someone. I’m 42 and he’s 45… is that just us, or is it a generational thing?!

  11. What a wonderful person you are! Thanks for this, we all need reminded in this age of technology that we still need to have face to face conversations especially for the harder things. This spoke to me because I’m a texter, I will try harder!

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