Monday, December 28, 2009

Mom and Dad, I Really Need …

Ken was so nervous that his voice squeaked when he spoke. "Mom and Dad, I've been talking to Doug recently, and he has really helped me see some things in my life more clearly. I came to better appreciate how well you take care of me with a nice home, plenty to eat, and buying most of my clothes and stuff for me.” Ken swallowed hard. “And I ... I love you both." Doug noticed a glimmer of a smile on the faces of Ken’s parents. "We love you too, Kenneth," his Mom said. Dad nodded.

Ken cleared his throat. He found it very difficult to say these words, and he wished he could leave the room, but it was too important. "Since you are so good at taking care of my needs, I want to tell you about a couple of other areas where I kind of need your help. Would that be okay?" "Of course, Ken," Dad said. Ken squirmed uncomfortably, “Well, I'm learning that I have a pretty big need for your approval. I know I screw up a lot, and you tell me about it when I do. I need to be corrected sometimes. But it would help me if you'd also mention when I do something right. When I don't hear your approval, I begin to think everything I do is wrong. If either of you notices something I do right, would you be willing to tell me about it?"

After several silent seconds, his Dad said, "Do you really think we don't approve of you?" "Sometimes, Dad, when I only hear that my grades aren't good enough, that you don't like my clothes, that my room is messy ..." Ken could have added more to the list, but he didn't want to overdo it. "Kenneth, you're our son," his Dad said, "and we're very proud of you. We only discipline you because we want the best for you."

Ken nodded. "I know, Dad. But when all I hear about is what needs to change, I get discouraged. It's like the other night, when you took away my CD player. I was working on my homework, and it was half done. But you didn't see that. Instead, all I heard about was how bad my music and study habits are." (To be continued)

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