Menu Close

Communicate with Your Kids Month

Author Shelley Fraser Mickle
Air Date 10/5/2000

Communicate With Your Kids Transcript

Here’s Shelley Fraser Mickle with this week’s remembering — about that most basic activity between parents and their children- communication.

This is National Communicate With Your Kids Month, which is probably 99 percent of what parenting is all about. After all, you want to pass on all that you know. You want to keep the kids from making the same mistakes you have You also want to practice that fine art of listening in the hopes the kids will spill the beans on any number of things that are likely to get them into trouble. Which makes me remember those days when I had the flu. If I lost my voice, my kids relished my silence. In fact, it was more than golden, it was permission.

Somewhere along about the second day, I started writing notes. I got the kind with the little sticky backs so I could crawl around the house and stick them to the places that needed the most immediate attention, like the dog, on which I wrote, “Feed Me.” And the milk, on which rode the reminder, “Put On My Top.” I heaped yards of dirty clothes on the washing machine and affixed the words, “Put me in. Turn me on. Pull me out. And put me on.” I lay down on the floor and scooted up behind the TV and pulled out from it a bunch of wadded notes with school letterheads that all said, “Have your mother call me.” I pressed them out with a rolling pin and taped them onto the TV screen with the warning, “Don’t lie about this, Call your teacher right this minute and say that as soon as your mother can speak, she’s dialing your number.”

I got onto that old trick, too, about when my notes were left unread because my handwriting was said to be too messy or that clearly my fever had clouded my judgement. I resorted to e-mail. I fashioned words out of noodles and left them on the kitchen counters. Having the flu and losing my voice was never for me just having the flu and losing my voice. It was a special challenge to my creative powers.

Now that my kids are grown and have moved on into their own lives, they still relish my silence when I have the flu. I call them up, though, and let them do the talking, Funny, how I seem to hear the echoes of my own words coming out of their mouths.

I guess communication with your kid should always be a two-way street. It’s fine for the relationship, too, when a little laryngitis descends on a parent so that that fine art of listening gets a tune-up.

Posted in Holidays, Stories