Who taught you to honor your feelings?
April 10, 2019

Once upon a time at a big gathering someone suggested three-year-old Katie sit next to a certain four-year-old. Katie knew the four-year-old. She’d made Kate’s life hell for years.

Katie declined the offer and said instead, “I hate her.”

The room fell silent. Everyone looked at Darrell and me, waiting -- we were sure -- for us to admonish Katie.

We did not. We let the comment stand. We didn’t even pull Katie aside later to suggest she find a smoother way of declining an invitation like this next time.

She found plenty, of course, but she did it on her own time and in her own way. Which makes Katie’s grownup sweetness all the sweeter. It was her idea.

Sometimes I think the best words of advice for parents would go something like, “Back off.” Trust a child to know what’s right -- and who’s right -- for her. If there’s a downside, you’ll have to let me know.