posted by Matt W on November 26th, 2014

“You were right, I should have taken lessons,” my daughter said to me in the middle of her doing–the-dishes choir medley. I knew exactly what she was talking about. A couple years ago I had suggested that my daughter take singing lessons, because it seemed to me like singing would always be an important part of her life. Getting a few tips to help her get a bit more out of her already beautiful voice seemed to me like it would make her happy. I let the thought hang out there for a while before responding. She continued to sing.

“So can you think of any suggestions I’ve made that were wrong?” I finally respond during a lull in her song.

“Well looking back it seems like MOST of your suggestions were pretty good, but at the time none of them seemed very good or worth pursuing,” she quickly responded. Interesting and ouch.

“So when I currently give you a suggestion, looking at this from a purely logical perspective, wouldn’t it seem like my advice would be worth considering based on my sound track record?” I prodded.

“Well when I was 11 I could look back at what you told me when I was 10 and realize it was right. And later when I was 12 I could look back at 11 and see that you were right, and so on for every year after that, but I will say that every time I have looked back and realized you were right, it hasn’t made your current words seem any more reasonable.” was her reply. Wow.

So, not wanting to waste this moment of open yet insane dialogue I continued forward in my knowledge quest. “So if I was to tell you right now, while we are discussing my track record of quality suggestions, something that I thought would bring you future happiness, your first inclination would be to reject it?”

“No! No… no… well… yah, probably. Yah.”

God kids are stupid.

Well, not wanting to lose the moment of open dialogue I almost started to try to logically discuss the situation and make a few suggestions, but then stopped in my tracks as my daughter basically just said she would be less likely to consider something, well anything, if it came out of her father’s mouth.

In a moment of enlightened parenting, I started to sing a Billy Joel song. She happily joined in.

I have good kids. They are all smart, stay out of trouble, pick nice friends, etc.; they are really good kids. As a father I want to protect them and guide them with my suggestions, but like I did to my father, they routinely reject my suggestions and try to figure things out on their own. My daughter is a little stronger willed than my sons so the suggestions I throw her way like, “take two trips instead of one,” “I would stick with the piano lessons,” or, “I’ve found most colleges won’t admit you if you don’t apply,” seem to go through an extra layer of scrutiny and rejection. But as she heads out to college next year, while I worry over her occasional stubborn craziness, I feel pretty confident she will be just fine.

And to get through the rest of our crazy, teenage, female hormone filled, my dad is probably wrong, senior year, I’ll probably be singing a lot of Billy Joel tunes.

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