Faded Memories

By Michael

The girls get veto power over the memories I share on this blog, because I have the opportunity to embarrass them more than I bring shame upon myself. It’s only fair and, truth be told, they probably have some embarrassing secrets to share about me.

Of course, I don’t know what those secrets might be, because I am continually surprised at the bits of our past that they remember and which they forgot. After my recent post on sexting, I was going to write something brilliant about my insights into stranger danger. I had it all worked out, exactly how to set the right balance between caution and paranoia. I taught my girls how to be friendly with people, but not to get into their cars to look for a lost puppy. I was a genius.

For instance, I’d tell them most people are nice and you should treat them that way, but you still have to know not to go anywhere with strangers—even nice ones. I explained that it’s their body and nobody gets to touch them without their permission. (Yes, this was pre-puberty advice.) And I created a secret agreement for us, that if anyone did something with them and said they would get in trouble if I found out, it was really the other person who would get in trouble. They shouldn’t confront the other person about it, but they should tell me.

We actually drilled on some of these ideas, just to make sure they were going to be somewhat safe during the 3 or 6 or, later, 12 hours that they were out of our sight. They got it, they repeated the mantras and, thankfully, they stayed safe.

Except, of course, that they don’t remember much of the great wisdom that was the cornerstone of my incredible daddyness. Specific phrases or discussions draw a blank today.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps it means they used the information to stay safe, but didn’t fixate on it to the point of xenophobia. Perhaps they simply internalized the lessons in much the same way they learned to look both ways before crossing or to chew with their mouths closed. Organic maturation, rather than shock therapy.

If that’s the case, I benefit twice. First, of course, the girls were protected through my efforts, even if they don’t remember the details. Second, and more important, maybe they’ve also forgotten all the really dumb and embarrassing things I’ve done, so they won’t be able to spill the beans to anyone.

It could happen.

Michael Rosenbaum is 5 Minutes for Parenting’s first dadblogger. He is a business consultant, playwright and author of Your Name Here: Guide to Life.

Michael blogs on life issues at Your Name Here Guide to Life and manages the Adult Conversation discussion group on Linked-In.

One Response to Faded Memories
  1. Kelly
    February 19, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    You might be overreaching at the end there. I suspect your girls will remember every embarrassing thing you wish they would forget.

    But as for the rest of it? I think you nailed it. They grabbed your ideas and values via osmosis. Beautiful.

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