“I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” L told me this afternoon, “for not letting me gossip on those drives to school. It was very frustrating at the time, but now I understand.”
I’d forgotten all about that. Years ago, in response to her constant carping about the other kids, I banned trash-talking in my car. If she wanted to tell about someone who was absent, I only wanted to hear positive things.
We had a lot of silent drives.
She continued, “Now I overhear people, like in restaurants, complaining about others, and it just sounds awful. I don’t ever want to be like that.”
And I thought: wow.
She learned something.
It made a difference.
She’s a better person because of it.
I had no idea at the time that I was creating a lasting change. Frankly, I made the rule for my own benefit, not hers.
I used to say “You never know when you’re making a memory.” It’s also true that we never know when something we say or do will have a real impact, for good or ill.
But I plan to remember this, and hope that my influence always be positive.
You know what?
Sometimes parenting has its rewards.