A friend who has two young children asked me to write about some positive things my parents did when I was a child that have shaped who I am today. So many things contribute to why we are the way we are, from genetics to early friendships to traumatic experiences in our youth, but there’s no denying that our parents’ choices, behaviors, and attitudes have a significant impact on the people we become. Reflecting on our childhoods is valuable for all of us, and it holds particular value for me at this moment, as I prepare to become a parent. Read more
The Grammar Girl podcast did a great show this week on how to write an apology. For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about making tough apologies, so I thought I’d piggyback on Grammar Girl’s discussion. The show advised listeners to avoid four kinds of non-apologies (the “if” apology, the passive voice apology, the reverse apology, and the florid fauxpology) and to follow a formula for apologizing effectively:
Acknowledge the offense clearly
Explain it effectively
Restore the offended parties’ dignity
Assure them they’re safe from a repeat offense
Express shame and humility
Make appropriate reparation
(Credit to Dr. Aaron Lazare and his book On Apology.)
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
“I have two boys and I live in a very conservative area. I love where I live (mostly), but I don’t like how a lot of people around here talk about people with different skin colors and religions, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and women. I don’t want my sons to ever talk like that. Do you have any advice for raising kind and open-minded boys in an area that isn’t always very kind and open-minded?”
Thanks for the question, Rebecca! First, a couple of caveats. I don’t have kids myself (yet), so I’m hesitant to give parenting advice. In particular, I don’t know your kids, their personalities, or how they might respond in various situations, but I’ll do my best to share some general thoughts on this topic.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of an Easter egg hunt that my dad’s company hosted when I was about three. On a sunny Saturday morning, the employees’ young children gathered in front of a building facing a big lawn where plastic eggs had been scattered. Someone said go, and a mob of older children sprinted onto the grass, grabbing eggs and shoving them into plastic bags. I was younger than most of the kids and wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. The eggs hadn’t been hidden well; it wasn’t a hunt so much as a race. My little legs couldn’t run very fast, and it seemed like every time my searching eyes spotted a brightly colored piece of plastic, someone else got to it before I did. Within a few minutes, all of the eggs had been captured. I had one lonely egg in my clear plastic bag.