Dear Father Figure,

Hi.  It’s me, the Mother Figure in the seat behind you at Town Hall last night.  Remember me?  I was with my daughter.  You were with your kids, I’m guessing a 12 year old daughter and 14 year old son.  Yeah- you remember me now- the one giving you pitying looks…..Why was I giving you pitying looks?  Well, let me tell you….

First off.  John Green.  This is the go to author for much of Generation Z.  He writes about characters that they can relate to.  He writes characters that come alive and jump off the page.  His prose is prosaic, his words are quotable….he embodies  the angst and heartbreak they often feel.  He gets your children to read.

Let me repeat that.  He is getting your tween age kids to read.  To love reading.  To look forward to reading.

That’s a problem, right?

Your kids.

Reading.

Well- it must be, judging by the pissed off expression you wore last night.  Because you sat there- scowling.  Yes.  Scowling.  Your shoulders were tense, your body was rigid.  For a moment I thought that you were an angry statue.  You didn’t clap.  You didn’t move your arms.  You didn’t crack a smile.  You didn’t even smile when you looked over at your kids, who were obviously loving and enjoying the evening.  How does a parent not look at their kids and smile when their kids are quite clearly having a great time and a great experience?

Are we a tad selfish and self absorbed?  Does your obligation end at buying the tickets and accompanying them?  Do you think your daughter didn’t notice that you were not miserable, but angry?  Cause let me tell you- she noticed.  She glanced at you worryingly.  And this is just conjecture- but I’m guessing she was wondering what she did wrong.  Because that’s how kids are- they see their parents mad and they think it’s their fault.  Remember that- kids think that things are their fault.  So they think that when you are an ass, it’s their fault.  Well- they think that.  I know you are an ass because you are only worried about yourself.

Are you embaressed that your kids like these books?  That your kids watch Utube videos about literature and science? (cause that’s what these guys do- they make learning fun)  Would your rather your kids were watching sports?  Do you think if your kids read these books, listen to the podcasts,  they will be uncool?  Are these not the kids you wanted?  Do your kids not meet your expectations?

Well- get over it.  Get over yourself and your pre-conceived notions.

Cause what I see are two kids that like something that is good.  I see two kids that probably want to be better people, want to feel empathy.  They want to be part of the group that respects others and their choices.  Because that’s part of what the Green Brothers are about.  They sing about science.  They write books.  They talk about respect and they show empathy.

Respect and empathy.

The world would be a much better place if all kids learned respect and empathy.

Fyi- you- the parental unit- the  first teacher your kids had- you’re not displaying either of those things right now.

Even if you are bored, pretend to like it.  If you weren’t so irritated, you would realize that it’s a pretty good show.  These guys are funny- really funny.  And they are brilliant- that is blatantly obvious.  And oh yeah, your kids are into it.

Are you upset that he talks about depression and anxiety and mental illness?  Do you think if your kids never hear those terms they will never suffer from those things?

Wrong.  You are so wrong.  Issues like these have no boundaries.  Kids don’t hear about things like OCD and say, that sounds like fun, let me try that this week.  But maybe they will recognize something in themselves, and they realize that they are not alone.  They affect so many people.  Isn’t is better to be aware?  Isn’t awareness what helps fix things?

Well- you wouldn’t know that because you are least self aware person ever.  Yes- I’m judging you on outward appearance- sorry- you’re throwing off that vibe.  And if I think that- well, what do your kids think?

So here’s the thing:

Your kids like to read.  They are reading books that have some great messages.  They are spending their Tuesday evening with you, as a family, at a lecture/show.  Pay attention to them.  Try to understand where they are at.  You don’t get many chances like this.  They grow up and away really fast.  Embrace these moments.  Don’t be such a giant ass.

xoxo

The Mom sitting behind you

 

50 thoughts on “A Letter to the Father Sitting in front of me at An Evening with John and Hank Green

  1. YES THIS!! You take your kids to things that they want to experience, even if it’s not your “thing.” Because how many times do we drag our kids to shit WE like and they don’t ….

    My kids used to read, when they were young children. They don’t anymore as 20-somethings. Be glad that they are reading good stuff.

    Fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe his bad mood had nothing to do with the event–might’ve been fired or had an unresolved issue. That doesn’t excuse his sullenness, though. It’s sad that he allowed his mood to dampen the evening for his kids.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could see his daughter glance at him every now and then, she was directly in front of me. I know you don’t have to act happy all the time, but you could tell this was a true great experience for them. He could at least try…and if he’s that sullen, he didn’t have to sit there….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This just broke my heart. That there are parents like this out there who scowl at the “younger generation” as if they are costing them time and money, I know. That this dad was so blatant about it, out in public, for all to see and for his children to feel is just — well, heartbreaking. I’m hoping he sees your post and maybe, just maybe, recognizes himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s so sad.. I would be happy to see the Green brothers live, and I don’t read their books. Seriously, guy, the sportsball results will be available when you leave… I hope he didn’t completely ruin his kids’ experience.

    And now I can’t help but think of my friend who announced to Facebook last night that he was taking his little daughter to see the My Little Pony movie, and that he was as happy to go as she was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, green brothers were great! Really so amazing! It’s funny cause I wasn’t supposed to go, my daughters best friend was supposed to go but had a make up soccer game and I guess there’s drama if you ask one friend but not another….but it really was an amazing show! And yeah…the joy of taking your kid to something they love….seriously… I sat through three years of Dora the explorer live….but I would not have missed my kids face for anything!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right?! My whole family went to see Up in the theater. It was just as much fun to see my nephew’s face when he was watching as it was to see the movie itself! How can you not be happy when the kids are happy?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Waking: I usually agree with you, but I think we need to cut this guy a break, give him the benefit of the doubt. I had a similar reaction to a father who was somewhat snippy with his kids in an ice cream shop last week. As I left, I noticed that his wife was wrapped in a blanket in the front seat of their car and looked quite ill. Since the kids weren’t with their mom, perhaps something was amiss at home. At least he was sitting with them and didn’t just drop them off. We can’t always be perfect parents, we just can’t. And it’s tough being perceived as an ass when you might just be having an off day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie said the same thing, and I’ve been thinking of it enough that I’m going to follow up. I get that he could have had a bad day. I get that there are a million reasons he was grumpy. But, his wife was actually there…..and sometimes, no matter how crappy we feel, we have to show up for our kids. This was clearly something they were excited about. But I’ve been thinking about this since Leslie made her comment, so I’m going to hash it out in my head and follow up

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, my daughter always accuses me of being “judgy” so I’m guilty as charged. I think we all make a lot of assumptions based on what we see. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been wrong and I try harder now to keep an open mind. My father was a fantastic parent who took his role seriously, but he never went to any of our school plays, sporting events or the like. He had seven kids and a busy medical practice. It was all he could do to stay sane. We should all do what we’re capable of and admit when we just can’t do something. It’s a lot better than scowling.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You never know with people if they’re just plain awful OR if they’re in some sort of pain, physical or emotional. This guys sounds awful, in need of a parenting 101 refresher course, but maybe it was something else. I can understand why his actions bothered you. I would have felt the same way in your situation. At least his child enjoyed the show, so there’s hope there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will look forward to reading it. Thanks for your compliment on my site. Today was a rough day. Mike was feeling very poorly today and dizzy. Sometimes I think I exist between a perpetual site of worry and apprehension. Tomorrow will be better. I made a wonderful raspberry ganache pie today. He gets very hungry. Maybe the medication fighting the cancer cells make him hungry but that is a good sign. Thanks for listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No benefit of the doubt needed. You saw the daughter and probably read her guilt and worries correctly. Plus, no names are being given because you have no idea who this guy is. Carry on with your first impressions. No harm is being done and you are probably correct anyway. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I really wish my kids liked to read as much as I do. Back in the 80’s, I could read a couple books a week. That was before there were other things to do (like the internet). This summer my (adult teen) daughter read the 50 Shades series. Should I be proud she picked up a book for fun??

    True story, I have a good friend that had to ground her kids from reading. Yes, reading! They were reading books like my kids play video games. They were not doing their chores. Why can’t I have problems like that with my kids?

    Maybe that was what the guy was upset about. Voracious readers!!

    Liked by 1 person

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