They say you can’t take it with you. Well, just watch me. I’m talking about secrets.
Newsflash to the 21st century: Not every iota of information in your life needs to be spoken out loud.
I know that’s kind of ironic coming from a blogger who often shares stories about his family life but I don’t get the whole need for self revelation. I mean I understand someone like Mackenzie Phillips going on Oprah. There seems to be a bottom line to that.
But I really don’t understand the need for regular everyday parents feeling the need to unburden themselves to their children. I have a friend. Good guy. We were talking about idiotic stuff we’d done in college. The conversation then turned to him telling his children about stupid things he did when he was younger.
My friend wondered to me how he would tell his two daughters that he and their Mom lived together before they got married. And how he used to smoke marijuana when he was younger. Mind you, these are two things he wouldn’t do now but he’s wondering how to tell his daughters when they grow up a little.
What? Why tell them?
He said, “Don’t you think they have a right to know?”
I mean, what is it with people seeking to unburden themselves? Your children don’t need to know anything like that about you.
You know what a thirteen year old hears when they hear about Mom and Dad shacking up and giggling in bed while toking it up. They hear permission. You’re essentially telling them that you can mess up royally and still end up with a wonderful spouse, a big house and two wonderful children. You might as well give them your dealer’s home number.
He said, “But if they ask I’m not going to lie.”
And I’m like “Why not?” And if you’re uncomfortable with lying then just reroute them for goodness sakes. Offer them ice cream.
I’ve got plenty of stuff that’s between me and my priest and that’s it. Actually, I’m lying even now. I sometimes go to Confession at a neighboring parish because I don’t want my pastor who might recognize my voice to know my sins. I’m not even talking particularly bad stuff. No bodies in the basement (but that’s maybe because I don’t actually have a basement)
Whatever happened to family secrets? Look, I know there’s tons of stuff my Mom knows that I couldn’t get out of her with a crowbar. And I’m cool with that. Same for me.
I don’t want my kids to relate to me. I want my kids to look up to me. To model themselves after my behavior. Look, my kids know I’m not perfect. They live with me for goodness sakes. My kids see enough of my present day stupidity. They don’t need to be burdened with tales of adolescent stupidity.
And when my children ask me how I did in school I lie. You want to know why? Because I was terrible. In high school I missed more days than I was there. If I didn’t feel like going to class I didn’t. You think I’m going to talk to my kids about that while they’re still in high school? I’m not.
They don’t need a Dad who’s a chatty Cathy relating stories and saying idiotic things like “it was the right decision for me at the time.” Sign me up for the strong silent kind of Dad.
Look, when my kids are older and I don’t fear that my past stupidities will give them permission to be stupid I’ll tell them. And if I die before I get to tell them how stupid I was that’s fine. Make it an extra large coffin with room for me and all my secrets.