The other day I called my Dad in Utah. He is recently widowed so I like to call every few days and check on him. Now, I love my father, but there are a few things he does to push my buttons. One of them is talk about politics. He is so far right he's tipped over. Also, he's never wrong about anything which adds to the problem. So I should have known better then to call him on the day before elections. I let him go on a bit about the falseness of global warming, and Al Gore's plan to take over people's minds, because I think he likes to get those things off his chest. It makes him feel good, and I am a giver (of sorts). However, when he told me that Utahns are too smart to recycle I had to ask where do they think all those empty water bottles are going when they put them in the trash can? His reply was so funny I had to post it here. "Were making our own new mountains.... mountains of trash!" Now that's an intelligent response! Do you think I should email that one to AG?
Next, he pushed that other button about how I am spending too much money on things like music lessons when I could be making more babies instead. This time he suggested two more. Have you seen my sidebar? I have 5 kids! FIVE! He seems to think we should all have kids until we're 45 yrs old and the Santa in the mall thinks you are the grandpa instead of the parent. I don't get it. I told him that my decisions were my own and that money had nothing to do with it. I know what I can and cannot handle. Great job to anyone who wants more, my plate is full. Then I asked him if he could name all the names of his many grandkids. That was just me, pushing his buttons. I just wanted to make the point that if you are going to do a job well, you shouldn't overload yourself. Then, just like when I was a teenager, he told me my mouth was getting me in trouble. We said our usual "I love you anyway" good-byes and I hung up and thought the same thing about his troublesome mouth. It gets him into trouble too.
So this has me thinking about my relationships with others and more specifically my own children. I have a son who likes to push my buttons. I think I do my fair share of pushing back. I think I may have learned this behavior from my button-pushing father and I think it's time to make that change. Starting with the woman in the mirror. (Thanks Michael).
Here's an example: The other morning we were on our way to early morning seminary and my eldest son was the last one into the garage. In his haste to get to the car, he left the door to the garage open. It's a repeated problem. Since our dog could run out and get hit by the car when you are trying to park, it's a big problem. I noticed his mistake from the car where I'd been waiting. I had my mouth full and my window up and needed to get his attention and tell him to close it, so I did a flashy thing with the lights and motioned to the door. He was highly offended emotionally (and visually) and fussed about it with me in the car.
"How can you be so rude?!"
"How can you be so forgetful about the door?"
"That hurt my eyes!"
"Sorry, remember the door next time"
"You just want the last word always!"
"No I don't, you do"
"Yes you do!"
And so on and so forth until I was taking my hand off the steering wheel to zip my mouth shut. Then when he got out of the car he said his goodbye but I still wasn't talking because the mouth was zipped. I just shrugged and pointed to my mouth. He rolled his eyes and walked in front of the car to the building. Then I couldn't help myself... I flashed the lights good-bye at him.
Yes.... I think I have a problem.