They say that your children will be your best teachers.
Today I was reading One Fish, Two Fish to my two year old. He stopped me at the page with the sad wet pet. “O no- he is so sad.”
Then he proceeded to talk to the picture, “you sad because you are all wet? You have your hat, don’t be sad.” Then he kissed the picture and pet it gently and whispered, “it’s ok. Shhh. You don’t have to be sad.”
Then I had an epiphany. (In my head) “Omg, my son is consoling somebody who is upset. He is trying to cheer him up.” Maybe this is how it is actually supposed to work. Maybe there is no benefit to being sad. Maybe it’s not a stupid or cruel thing to try to cheer up someone who is crying.
I guess I always think its a bit suspicious when my husband tries to console me or cheer me up when I am crying. Maybe that’s a weird thing to be suspicious of.
Where I came from (crazy upside down land), I think people were just ignored (at best) when they cried. I mean, if you give your family members help or attention when they cry then they will just cry all the time. Right?
Maybe people cried so often that it wasn’t something that shocked me. It was no surprise to come home from school to find a mother or a sister or yourself crying on the kitchen floor. Trying to console one of them will just get you yelled at (and blamed for the crying). So suppressing empathy is really a basic survival lesson.
Which brings me back to the beginning. Have I failed my son by not teaching him basic survival strategies for crazyland? Or can I take his empathy for the wet sad pet as proof that I am in fact creating a different world for my children than I had.
And can I learn from my beautiful boy that this is actually how it should be.