Just a short while ago, my kids started first grade. I’m amazed at how much information they are absorbing. And I do my best to funnel the information they receive.
My wife and I hope to empower them to be smart, independent people who look out for their fellow man. I also hope they aren’t the subject of a COPS episode. So we try to teach them life lessons whenever we can.
But here’s the thing – they often teach Mandy and me a few things.
Take this photo for example. This was from a few years back. It looks nice enough. Smiling kids. No scratch or bite marks, at least on that day.
But did you notice Briggs? He’s holding his purse. Kate has a wonderful purse that she treasures above all other things. Briggs saw her one day with a purse, and announced that he wanted a purse as well. I told him that purses are for girls, but I didn’t really press the issue.
Well, he somehow found that bag and adopted it. It became Briggs’ purse. I told him, gently, that girls use purses. Men use wallets. And manly men use money clips. (I use a wallet, by the way.) Briggs replied that “Daddy has a purse.” I simply dropped the matter.
Later that week, I was getting ready for work. I went through my goodbye routine, which consists of a round of tickling, kisses and hugs. As I walked away, Briggs said the following.
Daddy, I want a purse like yours.
I realized that I had my messenger/computer bag slung over my shoulder. Here’s what it looks like:
You know, that’s a purse. Apologies, Briggs.
I’ve thought about this a bit. It must be so hard to be a three-year old. For a six-year-old, all you want to do is fit in. You want to be like Mommy and Daddy. Like your sister. Like Gamma and Grandpap. You look for clues. Kate has a purse. Mommy has a purse. And so does Daddy.
And so it must be for new employees. They start a new job, and they want to fit in. They want to succeed. There’s the employee handbook. There’s orientation. But they’ll look to see what managers, directors, executives and board members do. What they say. How they act. How they behave.
They are always watching. And that’s a good thing to remember.