The Wrong Response

During dinner, my wife, KayEm, and I often attempt to teach our children life lessons. For the most part, we do a good job of delivering motivational messages that resonate with the kids. There are other times when we fail to make our intended point.

One such time was when we were teaching the kids the proper way to respond when things don’t go their way.

“Bad things will happen to you during your life,” said KayEm. “No matter how good you are.”

The kids stared blankly at her as they shoved forkfuls of spaghetti in their mouths.

“Even, though bad things will happen,” she continued. “Your reaction is what will make all of the difference.”

KayEm was still not getting through to the kids. I took this opportunity to chime in and focus my teachings on our oldest child, Nee.

“You are in control of how you respond to every situation,” I said. I went on to elaborate how she should choose to respond positively when her brother, N, annoys her instead of getting angry.

During my lecture, N began blowing bubbles in his milk. The sound of the milk sloshing around in his cup started to annoy me, but I kept my composure and continued speaking.

“Never let anyone else control your response,” I continued.

bubble * bubble * bubble

“When people discover that they can control you, they will use that power to their advantage.” I kept watching N out of the corner of my eye trying to resist the urge to pour his milk down the sink.

bubble * bubble * bubble

Finally the bubbles spilled over the top of the cup, and I snapped.

“Will you stop blowing those bubbles?” I yelled as I banged my first on the table. “You’re driving me crazy!” The whole kitchen went silent and N gently pushed the cup away from his mouth.

Nee looked at me with a smirk and asked, “Is that how I’m supposed to react?”

Stay Strong,

Have you ever had one of these “Do as I say, not as I do moments?”

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at

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