Yesterday was a rainy day when I drove my son to his elementary school. It was raining rather heavily, so I walked with him to the front doors with an umbrella, but I had forgot to give him an umbrella. After school, as a result, when he was waiting for the school bus, he could only wear his coat to protect him from the rain.
This morning, I saw that the sky was rather gray outside so I made my son take his small umbrella. When we arrived at the school, I again accompanied him to the front doors. I reminded him to take his umbrella to the classroom. My son told me that he didn’t need it, and that no one else brought their umbrellas. I glanced at the gray sky again and thought that the chance of rain was still pretty high, so I began to scold him, reminding him about the day before when he didn’t have an umbrella when he really needed one and asking him why he was so lazy. He finally gave in and took the umbrella.
After dropping my son off at school, I drove down the highway to work. About five minutes later, the clouds cleared, showing the blue sky behind. The farther south I got, the sunnier the weather became. It then reached the point where the sunlight began to feel hot.
At that moment, I knew that my behavior in the morning was not appropriate. Although my son is young, he still has a sound social judgment. He could tell from most of the students in his class that the chance of rain today was not high, since none of them brought umbrellas, and that’s why he didn’t think it was necessary to bring an umbrella when we arrived at his school. I did not respect his judgment, but instead used my adult authority to order him to accept my opinion and also blame him for being disobedient and lazy. This realization suddenly made me feel guilty and upset.
It’s true that bringing an umbrella during questionable weather is reasonable. Just in case it does rain, an umbrella would be good to have. It was also possible that today’s skies would be clear, so not bring an umbrella would be fine. Most people probably already saw the weather forecast, so they knew that there wouldn’t be any rain today.
However, I was not satisfied with my commanding attitude. I did not respect my child’s ability to judge situations, let alone appreciate it. I pulled the “I’m the parent so I know best” card on him and did not even consider his opinions.
Although it’s a small thing, I reflected deeply and knew that I’ve behaved like that for quite a long period of time. The incident this morning helped me just realize it.
When I got home at night, I apologized and told my son that I was wrong and that his opinion in the morning was right. I said that I will listen to his opinions, understand his point of view, and will respect his judgment from then on. He was so happy that he laughed, and I couldn’t help but feel very happy too.
Translator: Ireen Chau