One Hundred Two: Conversations Better Had Than Put Off

“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.” 
― Michel de MontaigneThe Essays: A Selection

Saturday, April 12

We’ve all avoided conversations we simply just didn’t want to have. “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t meet with you tonight; I’ve got a big project that’s taking up all of my extra time.” Yep. The breakup talk. The I need to quit this job talk. The I’m pregnant talk. Life dishes us up so many compromising positions and awkward situations that will never be easy to talk about. It comes down to the question of whether we want to face the fire and grow from the situation, or just hide.

Someone confronted my husband and I about our parenting via email. My husband replied via email that we are sensitive about criticisms on our parenting, but are willing to talk in person. This person agreed, but never really gave us any hints about what the cornerstone of the conversation would be (other than the vast subject of “parenting”.) My husband and I ruminated over what direction this conversation might take. Does this person think we are leading our children astray? Are we permissive? Are we hovering? Are we not creating appropriate barriers for our children? There are too many hypothetical questions we could ask ourselves, so we just had to stop pontificating.

We are confident in our parenting. Our kids are happy. In a group of children ours tend to stand out as kind and polite. Still, parenting is definitely a soft spot for both of us. Criticisms boil down to an in-between-the-lines statement: The way that you’re raising your child is the way that you choose to live, and there’s something wrong with that. This conversation had such a potential for stressing me out that I opted to just let it go. I wouldn’t hold any assumptions ahead of time of what the talk might be about, and I would be open to what this person had to say.

We set up a time to talk after the kids went to bed. It was the weekend. The sun had been shining all day and we’d made the most of the daylight hours. Our guest arrived and conversation started out with pleasant small chat, and we all indulged in every bit of this comfortable flow that moved around the topic but didn’t address it head on. So my husband finally asked what had been on our guest’s mind. As it happens, it was more of a general concern to make sure that we, as parents, felt that we had the resources and support to parent to the best of our ability. It was a great conversation. We talked about where our family is right now, and more specifically, where the kids are and what they’re going through.

It was a relief to have the talk and I walked away feeling loved and supported.

Are there any conversations that you’re putting off?



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