My friend and life coach at Proactive, has a saying: “Never take yourself too seriously!”. Lately, thinking about that, the below story came to my mind:
My parents had an acquaintance. They always referred to her as a single mother (divorced) with a 6 years old boy with angelic face. She was dating serious men, trying to find a decent step father for her child. She was herself, a pretty hard working, intelligent woman. But the main character of these stories was her mother, a retired respectable doctor, a widow at the time when this took place, and of course the granny of the boy with angelic face.
Granny is one woman that I would have loved to meet in person. She was, from what I heard, a very smart woman. She had worked in the emergency hospital and I can imagine that it was a very stressful work sprinkled with very dark, gross or heartbreaking incidents.
So granny had developed her own methods to keep her mental health, as close to some sort of normality as possible. She was also a very opinionated woman. She hated politics with all her heart (no comment on that), but mostly the president at that time. On occasions when the president was passing on TV, she would pull her skirts up and show him a nice piece of Granny bottom. That made the situation for her single daughter quite difficult, because they were living in the same house. Try dating and finding a serious man who would have to accept both a step child and a lunatic Granny !
At the time, the little boy was going to kindergarten or school. The only issue with little boy with angel face was that as soon as he would open his mouth in classroom, it was like the doors to hell would open and a river of curses and slang words would come out. Soon the entire classroom was contaminated and the teacher was appalled, so she called for a meeting with the mother.
To her surprise, the mother could not take time off that particular day so she sent Granny to talk to the teacher. Granny was dressed in a very elegant suit. She was still a good looking woman, inspiring self confidence. She greeted the teacher and even gave her flowers. Impressed, the teacher started to explain:
“Madam, your grandson, I hope you won’t take it the wrong way, but he uses all the time very very bad words. Some of them I don’t even know myself.”
“Oh, my grandson?” Granny said obviously concerned. “This is unacceptable. We are a good family, with a very intellectual background… Can you call him to explain his behaviour. This is unacceptable.” The teacher nodded in approval, relieved that she had found sympathy. She called the boy with angelic face.
Granny leaned from the waist, looked him kindly in his blue eyes, pinched his cheek gently and said something that, if it would be translatable, it would sound something like this: “Listen, you little piece of shit! Where in the fucking hell have you learned to talk like this? If I’m told again that you speak like a mother fucker, you’ll be grounded for life! Understood?” The little boy, listened carefully, put on the Shit! I messed up with Granny! face and said seriously “OK”, and apparently he decreased the frequency of bad words.
It is said, however, that the most valuable lesson was learned by the teacher. Not only she became less uptight, but she also found different creative ways to pass some politeness message to the children.
Of course, our days, the scene can be considered anti educational, probably shocking, who knows, especially if taken out of context. What I think, however, is that she gave more credit to the child assuming he is mature enough to understand some borderlines.
It’s not about being a clown all the time. I hate these eternal clowns. But let’s not be constant martyrs. Both eternal clowns and martyrs are such tragic characters! It’s not about being rude either. It’s about letting yourself go once in a while, finding a valve to release stress and remembering to be a honourable human being the rest of the time.
So, dear fellows, let me make a point here: from time to time we all need to be a little bit like Granny!