Don’t be a douche, and other life lessons I want my children to learn

One week ago, I was driving my eldest to gymnastics when my youngest (7yo) made a bold declaration from the back seat: “I’m not going to play with Shane anymore cuz he told me he doesn’t believe in God.”

*insert noise of car screeching to a halt*

Life lesson time, youngsters.

If there is one takeaway I want my sons to have when they fly the coop, it’s to never, ever judge someone by their beliefs, and to never, ever be so obtuse and naïve to think that your way is the only/best/right way. Not just religious beliefs, either – I’m talking about all beliefs, philosophies, lifestyles, and choices.  My motto is: If they’re not harming anyone, let them be. You know what you need to be able to do that?

Perspective.

My sons live in a bubble: they don’t have to worry about their next meal, or having shoes on their feet, or books to read, or having parents who love and support them. It’s a beautiful, magical bubble that I’m intensely grateful for and that everyone should live in. But that’s not reality. My job is to show them other realities so they don’t become elitist, entitled, douchebags who don’t pull their own weight in society. They need to hold themselves accountable, not just for their own actions and choices, but for the world they live in. You know what you need to not be a giant douche?

Empathy.

Look at poverty, abuse, neglect, famine, mental/physical illness, war…it’s ugly as fuck, isn’t it? Is it uncomfortable to witness? Good. Help in any way you can, no matter what that means for you, no matter how big or small, because Every. Little. Bit. Counts. I want my sons to care. You know what you need to care?

Compassion.

Care because it’s imperative to give a shit. Care because it takes a village. Care because it could be YOU who needs help one day. Care because this is your world too and it’s your role as resident.

Compassion. Empathy. Perspective.

More than a thousand people have committed to write about this very thing on February 20, and I’m honored to be among them. It started with this post by Lizzi, which inspired an idea, which inspired hundreds of people to join together for a cause.

I invite you to join us on Feb 20 by participating with an act of compassion and using the hashtag #1000Speak whether writing a post, writing something compassionate on a friend’s FB wall, sharing or tweeting a post about compassion, creating an inspirational video, etc.

If you don’t have a blog but you’d love to write a post, Jen St Germain Leeman has set up a #1000Speak for Compassion blog just for you! You can email your post to 1000Speak [@] gmail [dot] com and it will be published on Feb 20th!

FLOOD THE WORLD WITH COMPASSION. You don’t have to be a blogger.

You just have to care.

voices

 

 

 

74 comments

    1. AW, thanks, Roby. *squeezyhug* I try to be a good parent. I’m not perfect, but any parent who claims to be perfect is full of horse shit. We all just do our best, right? 🙂 and YES, great point about douchebag parents who are raising future douchebags. I call them BODs (breeders of douchebaggery). They suck.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You just have to care…love it, Beth!
    Kidzilla lives in that same bubble – she has all she needs and doesn’t have to worry about anything. We feel like it’s our responsibility to make sure she understands that other children don’t always live the way she does. We don’t want her to be guilty, just to be aware that not everyone is so blessed and that it’s up to us to do what we can to help. I think she gets it. I hope so, anyway. But your message is exactly what we try to make sure we live and she knows – just because you have it good doesn’t mean everyone does so don’t be an asshole. Or whatever word you like better! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Danggggit I LOVE how you ended this. OH! And I just figured out why – your last line echoes a last line I’ve got coming up soon – LOVE that construct. It’s quite delicious.

    Like this post, cos you’re so right, and you’ve put it in such a straightforward, frank manner, as though DUH! who WOULDN’T want or be able to do these things, and notice other people, and CARE!

    Love it. Made me all glowy, and especially pleased that you’re teaching your boys about this, and how important it is to understand that people in all walks of life are worth their time and respect, even if they don’t like what they do/think/believe…they can still behave in a kind manner towards them.

    Meantime, my wonderful BW, keep making that beautiful bubble around them for as long as you can – there will be enough time for them to be exposed to the nasty side of life. Give them its sweetness for as long as you can 🙂 #MamaWin

    Liked by 4 people

    1. *rushes in at full speed* LIZZZZIIIIII!!! I’m so sorry I’m just getting back to your lovely comment! It’s been driving me crazy to get to a computer – arrrrggggg. Anyway, thank you, and YES you’re right, the whole “care” thing is an echo of your thing (shhhh secret) and that resonated with me so much so that it became part of my call out, too. It’s just so succinct and true and perfect. And I’m super-duper glad I made you glowy. #BlogwifeWin 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Heheh it’s fine – I hate commenting from my phone! Sometimes a necessary evil but ALWAYS a hassle and never as good as a laptop (and for me, always with more typos!).

        YAY you ECHOED! 😀 😀 😀

        Love, love, love it 😀

        (you ALL the #BlogWifeWin 🙂 )

        Liked by 2 people

        1. lately, (rightthissecond is an exception) I haven’t even been turning on my computer all weekend! I do EVERYTHING from my phone until Monday, unless I’m left at home alone and have no cleaning to do. The bad side of that is that I don’t often comment here or elsewhere (except if I’m super determined and do it from my phone), but I try to share regardless others’ posts I read, regardless. Sharing is pretty easy by phone, unless it’s a blog you’ve never been to before and you have to fill in all your info, that sucks.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Bethie, been living under a rock, sorry, Lovey. Only started writing again a coupla weeks ago, wasn’t really even reading much before that either. How’s your book going? I’ve missed me too…I’ve missed you, Bethie. *lingering hug back*

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Empathy and compassion. And especially perspective. You know, there are way too many “douchebags” who have an unrealistic sense of entitlement. When I see a person struggling or hurting I always think – that could just as well be me. Teaching our children to love one another just because we are all human beings and to appreciate differences is what it is all about. “We are all different flowers in the same garden.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ohhh, I love that, “we’re all flowers in the same garden” That’s so very true. But, I guess every garden has weeds (aka Douchebags), right? It’s up to us to make sure we aren’t weeds, nor are our kiddos! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful message – and especially poignant for the world after the atrocities in Paris a couple of weeks ago – both the horrendous shootings and the hate that they stirred up. I wish all parents – heck, all people – were as awesome as you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Claire!!! How’s your knee? Hope you’re healing up quick!
      You know what I think we need to invent? Douchebag spray. We could shower it over entire nations of toxicity and hate, not to mention the douches in our own backyards. It would be amazing if everyone was a non-douche. Can you imagine? It would be all kumbaya and wildflowers and peace. love it.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. ALSO! I glanced out my window the other night and happened to accidentally spy my neighbour getting out his shower (Swedes don’t believe in curtains, or towels it seems) – and I thought of you. Because he has a man bun. The sight of a beautiful Swedish man in his altogether and I thought of YOU. I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m speechless with joy! A sexy, man-bun hottie NEKKID made you think of MOI??? Yes. I love it. My job here is done. 🙂

        (btw, “accidently” spied on a Swedish man showering? yeahhhhh, right. *wink wink*)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You are such a great mom, and I know because I know your boys. If it weren’t for one of them, I wouldn’t know you, and he’s one of the sweetest kids alive. You’re doing great. Maybe you should come teach me some lessons.

    Have I told you lately that I love you more than tattooed bearded men?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *gasps* MORE than tatted-bearded men??? *squeeeee* That, my friend, means you love me a SHIT TON. You know what? Feeling is mutual. I not only love you that much as well, but I also admire and respect you as a mom, friend, and writer. The day our sons became friends was a very lucky day for both of us. #kismet

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sigh. My kids live in a bubble too. And it’s such a paradox cause I don’t want them to grow up sheltered but I don’t want them to have a hard life. So many of the people who judge others (in addition to being assholes) can’t seem to understand that not everyone’s experience is just like their own. I’ve heard so many douche bags saying “Well, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, there’s no excuse” and the thinking that goes in to that type of mindset really scares me. A. there’s no imagination which is sometimes crucial for empathy and B. it is such an egocentric way of looking at the world.

    “It is imperative to give a shit” Truer words have never been spoken.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. YES. no imagination is crucial for empathy and that IS an egocentric way of looking at the world. So well put and so true. those people scare the bejesus outa me.

      BTW, did you read that thing going around FB (I think it’s an Elizabeth Gilbert quote, or at least she shared it) about how this generation (the current teens) are actually wonderful? It’s fantastic and I totally agree with her. I’ll try to find it and tag you.

      Like

  7. Last week, a friend of mine said that she was struggling with feeling guilty about wanting to spend time with her 3 teenage girls MORE than giving time to church ministry.

    I said HOLD UP.

    Because of her and her husband, our world will have 3 less bitchy asshole women to cater to, and I honestly believe that pleases/honours God MORE than the amount of hours you can log doing churchy stuff. In fact, NOT sacrificing your family for the sake of the church is a biblical concept, believe it or not.

    I told her that. She’s starting to believe it too.

    You, Beth, are a gem. Whatever your household believes, our world will have 2 less asshole douchebag men to cater to, and I thank you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s been my experience that most of the people I know who actually give a shit–by which I mean walking the walk, not just talking the talk–have reasonably decent children, at least in respect to their parents’ values. I’ve got a relative, on the other hand, whose parenting has two extremes: chaotic anarchy and full blown Chernobyl-scale meltdown–followed by “i deserve this (drink, weekend trip without the kids, whatever) because my kids are so horrible recovery during which the anarchy once again takes root. The kids, predictably, lack any genuine respect for their mother, themselves, or each other, and their default crisis management technique is snark and tantrum. They learned by example. My kids, on the other hand, are polite, deferential, but sarcastically judgemental (me) but also kind, generous, and impressively self-motivated (my wife). They also have her eyes. The whole parenting thing is a fascinating psychological exercise–my own mom frustrates the hell out of me in many ways, most of which are the qualities I see in her which I see in myself as failings–and let me tell you, that was a humbling realization.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh jeezuz, I can relate to the humbling realizations when it comes to seeing myself in my mother, and why is it always the stuff that drives us crazy? Why can’t it be, gee my mom is graceful/generous/beautiful/lovely…..oh just like me!!! No, it’s always like, gawd she’s obnoxious….oh shit, I do that too! grrrrrr

      And yes, absolutely – the attitude of kids is directly correlated to the behavior of their parents. TOTALLY.

      Like

  9. This is so awesome.

    If I didn’t have a crush on you, I’d want you to be my mama. Or, at the very least, come raise my hellions whenever I get around to having them 🙂

    Good for you, Beth. I just want to high five you and then hug you for being such a good ma!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You sound like a good mommy. Teach your kids the right way to treat others and approach life’s differences with respect and perspective. HA! In my day we had the fear of god and by that I meant my parents! Too many kids don’t have real parents anymore, as they have moms and dads who want to be their buddies and party with them. That’s why they turn into douched like their parents!

    Also, you are a MILF so you got it going on!

    Nice going with the Speak for Compassion thing.

    Related – did you see my recent blog post titled “Hey NYC parents – your spawn are not my problem!” You might enjoy it!

    http://blog.theregularguynyc.com/hey-nyc-parents-your-spawn-are-not-my-problem/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ohhh!! I SO GOSH DANG LOVE THIS!!!

    I am giggling right now cus I have this lil synthesis I sign off with, from the book of Micah, about doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly?

    And then you trot in, all swaggy like Alexander the Great with your sword pen, and whoosh!! You just say it:

    “Don’t be a douche!”

    omfg, that is the ABOS best! (and I am totes jelly I didn’t think of it!!!)

    Now the Q is…was Mama REALLY saying that to Micah, but he just didn’t have the humility to write it???

    Love your work, grl! Just love it
    Charissa Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My sons live in a bubble too and your post really hits home hard for that reason! I try to bring them to reality often because I’m scared of their harboring feelings of entitlement!
    You’re doing awesome, mamma!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Roshni! You’re doing awesome, too, mamma! It’s really tough to give the perspective in this day and age, unless you travel a lot, which we do, but not to places that are different economically from where we live. I keep telling my husband we need to take them to Africa. haha

      Like

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