I had an experience today that I am still processing.
As you may recall, I am a married mother of two. Our son is a college sophomore, who is having a very positive experience. I am truly grateful for that, especially at this challenging time of our lives as Black Americans in this country.
I usually text my son when my worry for him outweighs my trust for his safety (and trust in his developing common sense!)
My text messages to him are often filled with directives – “Don’t forget this”, “Remember to do that”, “Call home” type of messages. He has quick one-word responses, which irritate me, but I grudgingly acknowledge.
This week, I made a conscious decision to send him a positive text – one that did not tell/advise him to do anything. I texted him “Hey Robby, Enjoy this beautiful day today. Love you, Mom”
He did not reply immediately.
In fact, 2 days passed before he texted me back.
I resisted my usual response and chose not to think about it, or worry that something was wrong or had happened (despite the overwhelming newscasts these days involving racism at many colleges, Black Lives Matter, and such — this was before the events in Paris)
When I got his text I was inspired and encouraged. It read “Mom, got an A on my Accounting exam. I also got accepted into the Leadershape program training program”
What an unexpected, fabulous message — I happily shared the news (my husband, daughter and mother — not posting on Facebook – until now!) It was comforting – he seemed happy about his positive news – how amazing!
Was this simply a matter of timing? I guess I will never know, but it absolutely has changed the way I plan to communicate with our children. It was a great experiment. The decision to send him a positive text – and leave it alone – ended up leaving me (and him?) positive and happy – rather than hanging on waiting for a response to a to-do list. I think I’ll try it again next time.