Coffee filters keep all of the nasty grounds out of a decent cup of joe, while light filtering shades can help to keep bright rays from bothering our eyes. I would guess that we all know of at least one human being who could stand to be equipped with some sort of filter to make him/her less harsh. It has occurred to me that my daughter and I might need to develop a filter of our own for the receiving end of some of the thirteen year old boy conversations we find ourselves participating in. I do not anticipate him developing a filter on his own, until there is a female, not wired to love him unconditionally, whom he may not want to offend.
I have been warned about the beast that a teenage boy can be: sight, sound and smell. I just can't let it all happen without adding my two cents though, for fear that he'll come out on the other side (whenever that is) no less of an animal. Today my daughter happily announced, to me, that she made it into the spelling bee. Almost before I could respond, came the "Yeah, I didn't even try when I took that test because I didn't want to do that." Then there was talk of intentionally spelling words wrong (that explains a little). I bit my tongue to keep from saying, "Um, shut up!" Luckily, he did not take the wind out of her sails as she finished her information on the topic and wandered off. I then discussed with the boy what an appropriate response might sound like. This apparently was amusing for him to have his baboon-like tendencies pointed out, and amidst his chuckling, he got out a "congratulations" when the girl came back in the room.
When he came home to announce he had made it into the geography bee last year, there was no more enthusiasm than he showed his sister. "I don't know how I did it, but I somehow got into the geography bee." His view of school seems to be that it is a task to complete. He just goes and does his thing (very well...I am a mom and must add). He doesn't really want to talk or think about it beyond those doors.
Of course, my daughter is far more resilient to his charms. I think this is in part due to the fact that he has always been her brother, and also because she spends every day in the company of a classroom half filled with a starter crop of man beasts. I hear the flip comments in this house and panic over their lasting impact most of the time, Other times, I see that my daughter is more concerned over whether there are homemade cookies available, than she is about what rolled off her brother's tongue. OK, no, I do not want her to run to food to soothe herself.....damn, where are those cookies?
Ugh! The media has me so torqued up about protecting the psyche of my 'tween girl, so I bought some books last week to guide me through. Then I felt like I was neglecting my son, so I grabbed some books about fostering his emotional development. I suppose I should have also looked for a self help book for when I have been buried under too much of this information and can no longer sleep at night! I will be unable to complete a sentence for fear that it will convey some message that eventually lands my children in therapy...talking about me! Yikes, I felt much better about buying those books than I do about actually reading them. I wonder how I'd feel about returning them, and getting myself some new sneakers?!
In my son's defense, or at least the one he most typically offers up, he's just being honest. So, when we tell our young children not to lie, apparently the hope would be for them to tell the truth. It is my opinion that lying is always bad. However, honesty is not always nice...especially without a filter.