One of the things that is very important to me as a parent is helping each of my sons embrace the “light” and “dark” parts of their personalities. To help them notice when they are in the wrong, when their being strong is perceived as wrong and when it is truly somewhere in the middle. Empathy, respect and love for themselves + others are daily lessons I teach them.
Yet, they still fall short at times because privilege. We all have so much of it that it is easy to take it for granted.
So, when it comes to them acting like privileged jerks, I do not hesitate to check them.
Tuck your privilege son. You don’t realize how good you have it. Tuck that shit in and have some empathy.
That might sound harsh but it is something I say to my boys from time to time when they fail to realize that they have it better than others. When my boys lack empathy, it is my job to call them out on it and to help them put themselves in the shoes of the other person. Case in point…
I was driving my boys to school the other morning. It was 7:45 am and it was already very warm out. A girl was walking across a street and we had to wait for her to cross to make our right turn towards the road headed to the school.
“AH! Can she take more of her sweet time?” one of my boys complained loudly.
“Tuck your privilege son! She’s got to walk to school. You are comfy in this car. Do you want to walk to school? To have to deal with crossing high traffic streets? To walk in the heat or cold or rain? You are so lucky that you always have at least one parent able to take you and pick you up, everyday and at anytime.”
His face instantly went heavy and turned sad. He got it. I am also certain he regretted what he had said instantly. A few minutes later when he was getting out of the car at school he said, “I am lucky mom. I am sorry for being such a jerk.”
In that moment he had been a privileged jerk. He had no right to gripe then.
But what about the times when standing in their power means being considered an asshole?
One of my sons is awesome about setting up boundaries, knowing what he wants and not tolerating being disrespected. That son is quick to cut people from his life that don’t respect his boundaries or that disrespect him strictly because he is certain of what he wants in life. One of his life goals, to have a group of friends that are strong-minded, intelligent, respect themselves and want to do something with their lives.
Sometimes having a goal like that means that others think he is an “asshole” because he doesn’t want to deal with people that succumb to peer pressure or that don’t respect themselves. But is he an asshole?
Yes, sometimes he is an intolerant asshole; he especially can be towards his brothers. That’s the truth of it. We are still teaching him that they are very different from him. Yet, outside of our home more often than not when others think he is being an asshole, what it really means is that he is standing in his power and upholding his boundaries. And in those times I tell him this…
Son it is okay to sometimes be the asshole. Seriously. Embrace it.
As a child I was never taught to stand in my power and had no clue that there were such things as boundaries. When by nature, I attempted to take my own power back or draw a line in the sand, even in my own home, this was considered being a bitch. Being taught to go against my natural defenses caused me to distrust my intuition, pick partners that would take advantage of me or invest much of my power in saving others from being mistreated and used.
So many years wasted saving others that benefited from me having weak boundaries and poor self love.All the pain was worth learning that in life it is important to be useful yet not allow yourself to be used.
And more on that in my next post. But for now I want you to know this…
Stand in your power. Have strong boundaries. Don’t be afraid to…
Be the asshole. Be the bitch.
By all means necessary love yourself enough to not get used up and become less-than your best.
© Anaín Bjorkquist August 14, 2015 ~ All Rights Reserved.