This morning while driving our grandson to school, his mother called him on his iPhone. (I don’t think 12-year-olds should have iPhones, but his father bought it for him and his parents are divorced—and well—you can imagine the rest.)
At least he uses the speaker phone so not to expose his head to damaging cell-phone radiation—which is why I was able to overhear his conversation when his mom called.
His mom was out of town on a design job and checking in with her normal chipper, “Good Morning!” He had been happy and connecting with me since he woke up, as well as on the drive to school, so his morose mono syllabic response to his mom seemed odd and unwarranted. I assumed he wants her to think that he is suffering because she is gone for a couple of days.
After he finished his call, I shared my observation, asking him if he was aware that he sounded unhappy to hear from her. He said, “No.” I asked, “Are you mad at her for going away?”
Alexander: “No, she needs to make money and she enjoys getting away.”
Me: “You know, she is not perfect, but she is one of the best moms I know.”
Alexander: “I know. She takes really good care of me.”
Me: “From the way you were talking, if I were your mom, I would have no idea that you feel that way. I don’t think she would get the message that you love and appreciate her. I think it’s important to treat your mom well because that will likely be the way you will treat women when you get older.”
Alexander: sits quietly.
Me: “Grandpa and I teach people how to ‘redo’ themselves. Did you know you can ‘redo’ yourself.”
Alexander: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Well, you can. Anyone can. When we say or do something that we don’t like, we actually get to do ourselves over. It’s really very cool. And then we can feel good about ourselves for doing so.”
Alexander: sits quietly.
I hear him dialing a number on his phone.
Alexander: Exuberantly….”Hi Mom,” as though they had not spoken just 3 minutes ago. “How are you?”
I can hear her respond with the same exuberance but sounding a little astonished.
Alexander: sits silently.
Me: “Do you want to tell her anything else?”
Alexander: “Mom, I love you and I miss you.”
We are pulling up to the drop off area at his school. He says goodbye to his mom and gets out of the car. I perceive he is definitely feeling better about himself. He has a smile on his face. Wishes me a great day, grabs his backpack and closes the door.
I hope he will remember this redo. I wish everyone knew how to redo themselves. I believe this is a powerful, yet simple, step we can take to create a happier world.