Hi, there. I know I’m parked out in front of your house and it’s creeping you out. I’m not getting out of the car, I’m not looking around, I’m not doing something obvious like making a call or eating lunch.
And I’m not acknowledging the kids in the backseat.
I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Sincerely. I’d park somewhere else if I could.
But my kids were calling each other stupid, so I pulled over. I’ve absolutely had it with namecalling, and your front yard is where I’m making my final stand. Well, probably not final. Honestly, only, like, second. And there will be dozens more just this week, I’m sure. So let’s call it penultimate. Because most people don’t know what that means. I’m making my penultimate stand before you, your family, and the neighbors. There will be no more “stupid” in my family.
I tell them what they practice is what they become. I tell them that calling names hurts peoples’ hearts. And I tell them to choose a kind word rather than a hurtful word.
But they think stupid is funny. There’s power in stupid. There’s power in making someone feel small. That’s not the power I want them to cultivate. I wouldn’t mind them cultivating sports or engineering or art or language; they can focus on motor skills large or small, ideas grand or practical. I don’t care what part of their brains they feed, except the part they were feeding just now, as we passed your house. I want them to nourish the kind part of themselves, not the cruel part of themselves. So when they call each other names I stop.
Starting now, here, where your wife is probably going to want to park when she gets home from her high powered, well respected career, I’m drawing the line. Is she an architect or judge or chemist or venture capitalist or something? My job, right now, is to make people not say stupid. Kind of like an architect/judge/chemist/venturecapitalist. But for kindness.
I’m going to ignore them until I hear each say something kind. I can tell from your face that you don’t like the sound of that plan, what with me invading your personal space and all. But I’m going to tell you two things. First, they’ll say something kind really soon. They did when we tried this the first time just down the block. They told each other “I love you, have a nice day,” prompted by the four-year-old’s attempt to end the standoff. But as soon as I pulled into the street they called each other “oopid,” which is what got us to your curb. And that brings me to my second point: this isn’t your curb. It’s public property in front of your house. You don’t own this curb. We all do. And I need it right now. Step off, yo.
Because I’m practicing sitting patiently in front of your house. It cultivates patience, deep breaths, and a stalker vibe I’ve always shunned. Patience is good, patience is good, patience is…Aha. They said something nice. We’re off.
Just remember this for next time, please. We drive this street all the time, and the odds that we’ll park in front of your house again are relatively high. but we’ll leave relatively quickly.
That? Oh, that’s them testing me. I’ll take them saying “poo poo pee pee poo poo pee pee” because they’re not calling each other names.
Shhhh. Let’s pretend, okay? I have places to be.