In my house, the goal is to be positive, and we try to teach the kids to see the good in every situation. I know how that sounds, but let me give you an example before you judge.
I was standing in my kitchen recently when I heard a perplexing beeping noise coming from somewhere in the house. I shouted “Where is that beeping coming from?” instead of going to investigate because I’m a busy mom who doesn’t have time to hunt down the source of every potentially-concerning sound day in and day out.
My older daughter, Taurus, shouted back (helpfully, a trait she gets from me), “I think Libra is building a bomb!”
I considered this for a moment and then said, “Hooray for girls in STEM!” and high-fived Husband, who was also in the kitchen with me.
Now, when he tells this story, he claims he wasn’t high-fiving me but actually reaching around me to get a stopper out of the cabinet to cork the bottle of wine I’d just been pouring from, but I’m dismissing this version of events on two counts. First, palm-to-palm contact was made; hence, a high-five was achieved. Intentional or not, it counts, just like accidently waving to someone who seems to waving at you but is actually waving at the person behind you counts as being social. But the second, more compelling reason to dismiss his version of events is because I had just opened that bottle, and so it didn’t need to be stoppered. I just wasn’t drinking from it that instant because I needed to get the kids on the school bus first.
This happened, coincidentally, while one of my kids was learning remotely through the school during a post-COVID-exposure quarantine, and her teacher and I had engaged in some friendly banter over the whole situation. He emailed me to check in and comment that the child in question was handling the temporary inconvenience well, and I was tempted to share that story with him as a way of crediting both her and (ahem) her upbringing for her sunny disposition.
Even though I was pretty confident this teacher “got” me (we’d met only once in real life, but I believe I’m much more likeable remotely, in small doses), I ultimately decided not to include it in my email response. I have a big mouth, I admit, but even I know there are some things you really don’t want to send in writing to a person who’s a mandated reporter in your child’s school district.
I tried to put myself in his shoes, but more importantly, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the person who might see that email peripherally: does the district email flag words like “bomb”? “Wine”? “Positivity”? Would the person who might read that flagged email have the superior sense of humor this teacher and I clearly share? Would someone in a position of authority question my qualifications to work with children (both the ones I teach professionally and the ones I made from scratch)?
Not worth the risk, I finally decided. So instead of putting that story in an email to my kid’s teacher, I PUT IT IN A BLOG. What’s the worst that could happen?