Monday, September 5, 2011

Parenting 101: every now and then you do something right

I have been in the UK for the last couple of weeks, now back in New York. While I was on the train going to Brighton, my daughter called with a business question. She was submitting a proposal and wanted to get the numbers right. When she needs advice she usually calls.

I mentioned this to my dinner companions that night and they reacted as if a grown child asking for advice, much less listening to it, was very weird.

Parents may not actually want their kids to be calling, but I do. So this is how I made that happen:

One day at Yale there was one of those pink while you were out slips that said my daughter had called. She was seven at the time and had never called before. I asked my secretary why she hadn't put the call through and she said I was busy with a graduate student at the time. I told my secretary that if I was busy with the President of U.S. and my daughter called, she was to put it through. My children always came first.

I then told my daughter that she was never to let anyone tell her that I was busy. She said she didn't want to disturb me and said she could disturb me any time she liked.

It was just a knee jerk reaction. I hadn't thought out what I wanted to say. My advice to parents is that you will get what you ask for from your children, so be sure when you ask. As for me, I have never regretted that initial reaction I had to that phone message.

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