Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grandpa Says "Stay straight".

Last night at 5 in the morning, as I was trying to get my daughter back to sleep after her bottle, I started to think.  There isn't much else to do while holding your child and pacing back and forth in a small room in the dark, so my mind wandered.  My thoughts turned to my childhood and my parents, as they have a lot lately.  Even though I don't remember being rocked back to sleep by my parents, I do have a lot of fond memories of childhood and I feel like my parents did a great job raising my brother and me. The one thing that keeps popping up in my head is that, other than the one time in high school when my maternal grandfather told me to "Stay straight"*,  no one ever sat me down and had an anti-drug talk with me.

What I have realized recently is that my father often made comments about how drugs where bad and that they could ruin your life.  Either commenting on something we saw in a TV show or movie or even on the news.  These comments, my father told me recently, were "by design".  And they worked.

And this is where my thoughts started to run away with me.  If, by just making some comments, you can totally influence your child's point of view on a subject, what happens with all the comments and actions that are not by design?  Little A is going to learn from everything she sees me do.  How I treat and talk to other people, how I drive, my eating habits, how much TV I watch, how I talk about my job and every other single thing I do or say has an influence on her. 

Whoa.  That is scary.

The comments I get from my wife while I am driving are starting to make a lot more sense.  Cursing at the people in the other cars while A is in the back seat is going to affect the way she acts while driving 16 years from now.  I guess I need to start watching how I act while driving, even if all those other drivers are a bunch of idiots.....

This is going to be tough.

*The time my grandpa told me to "stay straight" was while he was visiting us from Florida and I was a wise-ass know-it-all teenager.  That being said, my wise-ass response was "do you mean don't be gay or don't do drugs".  His reply was "I don't care if you're gay, just stay off the drugs".  I thought it was pretty cool that someone of his generation was open minded enough to not care if I was gay.  And come to think of it, I am guessing those more direct comments probably had some influence on me, as well, even if they didn't happen very often.

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