My lectures aren’t very popular, especially with my son. He rolls his eyes at me. I am soooo uncool. And I don’t get it: the pain in his life. We are on opposite sides of the world just now. He wants to shut the door on me every chance he gets. I understand. This is what he’s supposed to do. He’s becoming a man. It just sucks, because I’ll never be able to articulate to anyone how much I love that kid.
When someone hurts him I just want to go crazy. I have a lot to say. I want to go on a tirade and explain the psychology of people around him. I don’t want him to take things personally so I go to epic proportions of explanation of convoluted psychology about relationships….which bores the snot out of him.
I can’t do it.
It’s better if I find a way to connect.
I remind him of when he was really little. Frances had a lousy best friend. Do you know Frances? A Bargain for Frances was a hot-ticket item when we visited the library each week for story hour during the toddler years.
Frances had a friend, Thelma, who tricked her. Frances was saving her money for a real china tea set all in blue. Thelma convinced her that a plastic tea set was preferable and sold hers to Frances, then promptly spent the money on a real china tea set all in blue. Thelma is the same friend who helped Frances to get doused in the freezing pond when they went skating and other adventures that didn’t turn out so well. When Frances discovers she’s been duped yet again she uses some trickery of her own. Backsies or no backsies.
It’s a story about manipulation and trust. I have an eager and trusting son. Just like Frances, he never remembers when a friend hurts him. I use the story of Frances a lot. It is my cautionary tale; a shorthand when I’ve said “Be careful,” one too many times.
Other story book characters are alive and well in our family lore. I adore the one I read below about Mr. Putter. It illustrates that there are dozens of ways to get what we want if we’re willing to simply surrender to the fun of life and forget about being cranky. Plus it involves tearing up a lousy present from a relative. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Do you use story to change the narrative in your children’s lives? Who are your favorite characters? Have you ever cut up underwear to make a slingshot?
Can stories distract us? Here’s Alix Spiegel’s investigation about serotonin and how people want to simplify the complications of depression by treating biology.
I want to hear your stories and the altared spaces they’ve created in your life.