I’m guilty of this – are you?
My childhood was full of “good” girl, “good” student, “good” friend and “good” job. Adulthood had “good” looking, “good” worker and “good” mother. But this word “good” – what does it really mean?
When I was small it might have meant quiet or obedient or attentive. Later it meant attractive, motivated, thorough, self-sacrificing. “Good” guys were just or kind or proactive.
It’s so much easier to say “good” than any of those other words. There’s something satisfying about passing judgment, classifying something sharply as good or bad, when in reality, the distinction isn’t so clear – but we all agree we want to be “good.”
I know I’ve relied upon this sh!tty adjective as much as the next person, but now I’m challenging myself to find another more accurate word. It’s making me pay more attention to what I really value and to what’s happening in front of me. Plus, my child is hearing new multi-syllabic descriptive words and a more clear expression of my meaning.
We parents can take on this challenge at any time, becoming more conscious of how we’re conditioning our tots, kids, and teens. We can model a higher standard.
Your children, however, might not be ready for this intellectual plunge until adolescence, when nuance, manipulation, and conditioning become really interesting. You can challenge your teen to go beyond that one-syllable word, “good”, to something that really conveys what they’re trying to say.
What’s a “good” essay? What does it mean to be a “good” kisser? What’s “good” sex?
Was he a “good” boyfriend? What does that mean?
Try it and see if you get some good conversations going with your teen. Oh, I mean some reflective and engaged conversation. 😛
In support of you,
P.S. Want more teen tips? Take a peek at the Parenting Teen Sexuality video series. Stream the experts anytime and anywhere, when you have some downtime or are in need of support and inspiration. Wouldn’t it be nice to have these angels in your back pocket? You can!