Parenting, Repetition, Lectures, & Talking

While telling my oldest son a random story from my past with a notable moral “point” at the end – he gave me the best response ever.

“Dad, you’ve told me this story 100 times.”

That was wonderful because it meant he was paying attention. I can recite word for word at least 12 stories my grandfather told me during the 22 years I was blessed to have him in my life. I will be honest – I know most of those stories because he kept retelling them, not because I was actually paying attention. It’s kind of like reading the same book of short stories everyday but not paying attention to the moral points of the book.

It wasn’t until my grandfather died in 1999 that I actually started “listening” to those stories. As I was trying to figure out life in my 20s – it was those tales of hardship, trials, and error that provided a lot of guidance.

There was the story about when power door locks were introduced at the factory and he couldn’t figure out how to install them. Lesson: It took weeks and months but he never gave up until he was the best power door lock installer in the plant.

There was another one about being 13 years-old and avoiding the white lady’s granddaughter he was washing dishes for: Lesson –Some women are trouble!

There was the one about being laid off from the plant and barely getting a temporary job at the post office: Lesson – Life will always find a way to kick you down, it’s up to you to get back up.

So here I am; 36 years-young telling and retelling my son tales of missed opportunities, mistakes I learned from, and goals I achieved. I don’t bother to try to and make sure he’s listening. I figure if I tell him these stories enough times, get them ingrained in his head, – maybe one day he’ll come across a situation where he’ll need to apply one of dad’s stories.

Kind of like I did.