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February 6, 2009

Sometimes, You’ve Just Got to Lighten Up

Image: Flickr/Lotus Carroll

Image: Flickr/Lotus Carroll

I love William Shatner. He and Alec Baldwin are the two people on this earth who could literally read a chinese take out menu and have me in stiches. The thing that’s great about them both is their uncanny ability to make fun of themselves. But they weren’t always this way.

Shatner, in particular, used to take himself seriously. VERY seriously. So much so that he became a caricature of himself. If you haven’t seen his 1978 “performance” of Elton John’s Rocketman, you are in for a treat. Now, you can challenge me on the fact that his “interpretation” of the song was tongue in cheek – that he wasn’t serious – but I will go to my grave saying otherwise. Just see :20 and 2:09.
Too many times in my parenting life, I, like Shatner, have taken myself far too seriously. I have allowed small things to irritate me and big things to go unsaid because of pride. The older I get, the more I’m able to relax a little and see myself “from outer space” – from a different perspective, as it were.
The truth is, my kids don’t need me to be so uptight and serious. In fact, they need me to be less so. Before you “yes, but” my point, let me be clear. I’m not talking about relaxing my rules or loosening the structure in my home. I’m talking about HOW I maintain those things. More often than not, a small dose of humor can go a lot further than a big dose of Rocketman with my kids. It allows me to stay connected to them even when they break a rule or get under my skin. It allows me to realize that they are not the only ones who can make mistakes or get annoying. And keeping my sense of humor allows me to be along side with them as I teach them right from wrong.

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