She’s 18 and so beautiful it almost hurts the eyes to look at her. An only child, and the sun, moon and stars to her parents. She just dropped out of school. Says she wants to get a job and earn some money while she figures out what to do. I watch and remain unimpressed with her heartless and sluggish efforts.

And when I am with her, I find myself keeping my mouth shut – with gritted teeth. Because I am only one “Adult talk” away from turning into my father.

Oh, his incessant well-meaning talks about how I should approach life. They were really about him talking about his own success. Poorly veiled, even.

I am DYING to tell her about the time I was 15 and really wanted to go to America to become an exchange student. I figured out how to do it and set it up; I worked four jobs after school, and it was hard. Some days I worked two jobs after school. But I had a clear goal in sight so it was very meaningful too.

I am aching to tell her how I worked my way through college. About my multitude of cleaning jobs. Salesgirl at the bakery. Putting books away at the library. Stocking shelves at the grocery store. Sweeping up hair at the salon. Telemarketing.

I should let her make her own experiences; draw her own conclusions. I am fighting an inner struggle to let her SEEK my advice rather than lecture her, like I really, REALLY want to.

Oh, you kids today. In my heart of hearts, deep in my soul, I just really think you should stop being such spoiled brats, pull up your pants (you look like idiots!), get to work and turn down that godawful music.

Then I stumbled across this:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

In my efforts not to turn into my father, I have turned into Socrates.

Aw crap.

 

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