My youngest child is about to graduate from high school, which means that pretty soon I’ll have four semi-adult kids. My kids have taught me lots of things, and many of those lessons might be more important than this one, but this is the one I feel like writing about today. So what is it I’ve learned? I’ve learned that that it’s usually best never to say “That would never happen in this family!”
This is advice that I don’t always follow. Just last week I found myself wondering out loud about what kind of a home grows a child of a certain age who still thinks that a certain childish tactic will get them what they want. Of course, behind my remark was the assumption that this sort of thing would never happen in my home. And, you know, I’m pretty sure I never did have a child try that particular trick, probably because they knew by that age that it wouldn’t work for them. Nevertheless, it was exactly the sort of thing that an honest parent could never be completely sure that at least one of their own child would never try, so I really should have kept my mouth shut on the grounds that my remark assumed things I couldn’t be sure of, never mind that it was just plain mean-spirited and gossipy. But most of all, my remark showed a fair bit of pride. Ironic, wasn’t it? If rearing four children to adulthood can teach me anything, it ought to be humility.