Beth Falkenstein: Lately, around my house, the phrase "You're going to regret that!" has been used a lot. By me.
It's not a threat; it's meant as a life lesson, as in: "You're going to regret not studying more." Or, "You're going to regret eating so much fattening food." And "You're going to regret not dating more boys."
How did I come to possess such worldly wisdom? Obviously I did a lot of things I regret.
I regret not keeping up my music lessons. I regret not working as an intern at a television station when I was in college. I regret not buying the house on Kling when I had the chance.
Notice a pattern? Those are all things I regret NOT doing.
Think my 13-year-old notices that pattern too? That's not a rhetorical question. I'm serious. Do you think a 13-year-old is perceptive enough to pick up on the fact that her mother let a lot of opportunities slip through her fingers?
God, I hope not. Because I sound like a real loser.
But how do I push my teenage daughter to achieve more than I did without coming across like I'm disappointed with where I ended up? I don't think "You should go for your Gold Award in Girl Scouts because it looks good on college applications ... but if you don't, you'll still be happy" carries the proper persuasive message.
Wait! I've got it! The next time my daughter balks at one of my suggestions, I'll say, "I wish my mother had forced me to clean up my room more." Grandma blew it, not me. I can live with that.
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|