posted by Matt W on October 5th, 2011

As parents we are always trying to give our kids the best information for leading a long, healthy, happy, life. Relying on our life experiences, we offer pearls of wisdom that will hopefully persuade our children to travel down an easier path than we took.

A girl I know decided to go to college at a local university. She wanted to live at home, but because she is a bit shy, her parents encouraged her to try living in the dorms and getting the full “college experience.” “You will be missing out on the best years of your life,” “I loved living in the dorms,” “I met my best friend in the dorms” were the daily lines recited. She was still steadfastly against the dorms, but in the end, her parents put their collective foot down and said she had to at least try out the dorm. Sometimes as a parent you know what’s best for your kid and you can’t be dissuaded just because your kid doesn’t want to. Sometimes things don’t work out like we planned.

Her roommate was a witch. That’s not a euphemism for a moody mean-spirited girl. And she wasn’t just an “I like to wear dark clothes and have a tattoo of a broom above my butt” witch. She was a magic spells, boiling cauldron, poison apple, witch. This girl would have been burned to death if she lived in Salem a few hundred years ago and been proud of it. As I never met the witch, I can’t judge her as a person, but she was clearly a poor fit as a “roomy” for a shy girl from the Bible belt. So, while her parents have helped her with thousands of good choices over the years, I can guarantee that 20 years from now over Thanksgiving dinner the “my roommate was a witch” story will always take precedence over the “my parents helped me became a world famous doctor” story.

Parenting is a difficult job with few verbal signs of appreciation for the positive guidance provided. My son once told his younger sister “you should listen to dad, in looking back he usually knows what he’s talking about.” While a very nice thing to say, I can assure you that since that statement my son has not openly accepted any of my advice. Knowing full well that most of our words will be at best, promptly forgotten and at worst, intentionally ignored,  we as parents, must continue to offer our sagest advice and hope that our words don’t come back to bite us in the ass.

While her roommate never turned her into a newt, her life did get better because she is currently living her college years the way she wanted, in her old room with her parents (and you never know, knowing a witch might actually come in handy some day).

File Under Jack of all Trades