Out of the Mouth of Babes

25 Mar

Auntie is one of those people who must be in charge.  All decisions flow through her.  She laments regularly about having to make all the decisions.  However, if she doesn’t make the decision, then whoever did is ridiculed for having made the wrong decision … ad nauseam.  Consequently, those around her are paralyzed with fear for either allowing Auntie to make the decision and then hearing that she’s tired of making decisions or making a decision and then hearing Auntie complain that it was the wrong decision.

The result can be bad enough on an adult (psychological domestic violence?), but imagine the damage to a child (child abuse or endangerment?).

Auntie typically sent three outfits for church when her child spent the night.  Allegedly, the nine-year-old then had options of what to wear to church.  These were mostly mix-and-match things that fit well together, and any combination could have be deemed successful.  Sadly, Auntie didn’t see it that way.  Auntie visualized three distinct outfits without the mix-and-match component.  Unfortunately, you must have been a mind reader to discern Auntie’s preferences.  The child arrived with a stack of clothes: three shirts, three slacks, and three pair of socks.  They weren’t matched in any fashion.  It was simply a pile of clothes.

Together, the nine-year-old and I selected an outfit for church: blue socks, Navy blue slacks, and a powder-blue Oxford shirt.  Success?  No, total failure!

Auntie arrived and began before the first “hello.”

  • “Those socks don’t belong with those slacks.”
  • “Not that shirt, but the blue knit shirt with the stripes.”
  • “Where are your shoes? You can’t wear Spiderman shoes to church.”

Auntie’s rant continued for 15 minutes unabated … and uninterrupted.  Any intervention is the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a fire.

Finally, her four-year-old nephew stepped forward and declared, “Auntie, you’re just a bully!”

The silence was palpable as she collected her son and went to church.

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