Don't judge other people's parenting skills
A few years ago when our family was traveling, I got an unforgettable parenting lesson. Team Phenix was sharing a single hotel room often overlapping in the bathroom. I was drying my hair with my head upside down when my son walked in to pee.
I barely noticed him, but he asked me a question, and I glanced his way. My timing was such that I could see him finishing his business and looking for the toilet paper.
I’m not exactly sure what happened in the mind of my 8-year-old, but rather than reaching an extra foot away for the T.P., he decided to use the closer, and admittedly fluffier, hand-towel to dry himself and wipe off the splatters on the toilet seat.
When he was done, he replaced the hand-towel back in its original location. After all, he’s thoughtful that way.
The first thing that came to mind was the Dial soap commercial, "You're not as clean as you think."
Two beats later, I remembered he was MY charge and it's my duty to instill in him the fundamentals of cleanliness, decorum, and basic sanitation (not to mention the ability to be a viable, bathroom-sharing husband someday).
So, I brought him back to the bathroom, explained how his process went wrong, corrected his behavior. His calm, “Oh, O.K, Mom,” told me all I needed to know (which wasn't reassuring).
Apparently, I hadn't discussed the “hand towels are not to be used to wipe urine” protocol with my kid. He treated the instruction as though the "paper only rule" was a recent development.
I wonder what else I've failed to cover.
"Blue flames" are dangerous.Commando is not OK.Streaking causes people to laugh at you, never with you.
I’m betting the missing hygiene chapters could fill a book.
I imagine people will spot these lapses and conclude my son was raised by wolves. They will wonder, "Who are his parents?"
I mean, I would...even if it IS in a kid's nature to be sloppy, isn't it the job of the parents to nurture away any Neanderthal behaviors?
However, I have a tangible reminder that I live in a "glass house," and I am in no position to "throw stones" by judging others based on some bad decisions of their children. Instead, I need to assume the best intentions from parents and understand none of us will be getting perfect scores in how we raise our kids.
Note to self: Don't judge!
However, what I will do is find paper towels for drying my hands.