Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wise Men Never Repeat

My all-time favourite High School English teacher (wasn't he the only one? :-)) used to say this when we asked him to repeat what he said because we were chatting.

“Girls, wise men never repeat.”

It stuck with me up to this day, even 20 years after. I wonder if teachers really understand the impact of the things they say to kids.

Now I really feel dumb. I have 4 kids. Duh?! It amazes me that to raise kids you need to repeat yourself 20,000 times a day. I try my best to raise good citizens of the future, but man, it takes so much patience. I’m really dumb to have 4 kids in the first place, but well, I am not the only one. My husband Ramil, is dumb too. Misery just loves company.

I was out with my co-workers in a pub last night. Conversation went to drugs and if you used them in the past. One of my friends said she messed up big time as a mother because her two kids, now both in their early twenties, were into drugs in their teens. Real, serious drugs like meth and cocaine. I thought repetition can be helpful, really. Repeat to the kids that drugs won’t do them any good. Repeat, repeat, repeat from 5 years old to age 20 until it sticks to their subconscious.

Parenting is hard. Sometimes I just want to give up and let my kids do whatever they want. I’m tempted to just work, make sure there’s food in the house, and then leave town on holidays. I’m seriously considering doing this and then writing a book about it. The New Effective Parenting : Leave Your Kids Alone. I bet it will sell, catchy title.

So is it really true? Wise men never repeat?

With my husband of 15 years I always repeat, in different forms. When I want something, I put it in his radar first. I’d say something flippantly, as if it didn’t mean anything to me. Then I’d say it again with a bit more detail. The third time I’d say it in relation to something he values. Then I’ll say something more concrete. Finally, I will say what I really want. Then he’ll agree. All these in a span of a week or two. Simple hey?

Here’s an example.

I wanted to go shopping in the United States and we are here in Canada. I need new blouses for work. Ramil is not very fond of driving long distances. So I start with, “Ces said groceries are really cheap across the border. I wonder if it’s true.” Then I let a day pass. “We are out of milk again? At Costco in the US, milk costs $4.50 for two gallons, here it’s $4.50 for one gallon. Can you believe that?” Then I wait for the right time. At the gas station, “OMG! A litre of gas for $1.30? It's .89 cents in the US.” Then in a more serious tone after a few days, “I’ve been making some computations and grocery shopping in the US will save us $300 per month. Imagine what we can buy with an extra $300 monthly. Do you want to try shopping in the States? I booked vacation next Monday, we can go, just the two of us to check it out.” Then he says yes.

Repeat yourself in strategically different ways. I call this repeating, others may say, scheming bitch.

I’m pretty sure Ramil does this to me too, on intimate, passionate matters until I’m convinced to try something new.

So really, wise men never repeat? Were you serious then, Sir? Maybe I missed the last part because I was always away from school. Maybe you said, “Wise men never repeat mistakes.”

I say life is full of repetition. Wise women repeat in creatively different ways, until we get what we want.

No comments: