The Right Way To Kvetch

When faced with a “to kvetch or not to kvetch” kind of a question, do yourself and especially those around you a favor, don’t. But since kvetching isn’t like Solitaire aka an activity that can be done all by your lonesome, a wee bit of a gander at The Ring Theory of Kvetching prevents you from tasting your feet unduly and also spares those around you from wishing you a few lightyears away due to well…your kvetchiness!

The concept is simple and can be applied to multiple scenarios. Or so I hear. Draw a circle and write the name of the individual who is afflicted, emotionally distraught or just vulnerable due to upheavals in their life. Around that circle draw a bigger circle and write the name of the people who are impacted the most due to closeness with the afflicted person (let’s call them A for the sake of my thumbs since this post is being typed out on a phone, real time). These people are typically immediate family members, best pals et al. And then keep adding circles and also adding the names of the people who are gradually more distant in relation to A. You don’t have to map everyone including the neighborhood grocer but relevant people and those who might want to look in on A during a difficult phase.

Now the Ring Theory simplies things and quite easily too- don’t dump on the people in the smaller circles and especially not on A. And your opinions and advice and anecdotes which may be best suited for a situation such as a person recovering from a bad bout of ill health, can ideally be directed towards people in the outer circles since they are less likely to take offence, listen with a less distracted air because they are less emotionally vested in the individual in the smallest circle.

And why is this theory important or even necessary? Well I’ll quote my own experience here. A little over two weeks ago my father had a severe health crisis and it was touch and go for a bit. A good bit. Everything in our lives was put on hold just to hear the doctors’ updates about his progress. He’s pulled through and will make a decent enough recovery but during those days when he was in the hospital and had tubes coming out of him, some people who came to “support” us and look in on him were clueless about what to say. Or what they ought to have said.

Rather than just hold our hand and send good vibes our way they spoke of people they had lost. Why avoiding specific medical interventions (something my father *had* undergone) was the right way to do things and a host of other inputs which were irrelevant, offered in a manner not sympathetic or even remotely helpful.

To such people I think I ought to mail a printed copy of The Ring Theory of Kvetching and maybe even send a framed copy.

Bottom line? It’s not merely enough that you mean well. If you can’t translate that into action or words that do what are supposed to in a particular situation, then your presence doesn’t amount to anything significant for the people you want to be present for. No one is taking a roll call to see who showed up and who didn’t. So if you do show, make it count.

Here endeth the lesson.

Parenting Diaries: Lying…When To Be Concerned

MLM by and large is a fairly manageable child. He’s NOT docile neither does he stop and listen every single time but he’s not been sneaky or sly very often.

He celebrated his 5th birthday over the weekend and I found some of the toys brought out during the party had suspicious chunks taken out of them. There being no end to the kind of sticky situations kids can find themselves in, I asked him if he was the one who had done it. He calmly replied “no”. When I later found irrefutable proof that it was indeed he who had spoiled the toys I have to admit I got pretty angry. Not because of the toys but because he’d lied outright.

Now as parents, we lie to our kids without blinking an eye. We lie about Santa, where their old toys have gone, where people go to after they die or even how we tackle the question of death itself. It’s done out of two main factors:

1) Children, at a particular age, lack the life experience to understand everything life throws at them.

2) We lack the adequate ability to explain things to them about certain things because they actually require near-adult understanding.

But what I am concerned about is- where do I draw the line about lying? Don’t lie? Non-negotiable and no questions asked or depending on the situation and its gravity take a call?

No matter what stance Red and I take, life will teach him to tell fibs. To get out of dealing with tiresome people, to avoid doing something he’d prefer not to et al, to save himself from something uncomfortable…who knows! We do it so often.

With children in the formative stage it becomes so essential to watch our steps, words, everything around them!

So if I have to explain to him that telling a lying isn’t the best way to go, I guess I should start with telling him that the hugely expensive (and unnecessarily expensive also) dragon toy he wants isn’t really out of stock; I just don’t want to spend that kind of money on something that isn’t a bloody life-sized dragon!

Hard being a parent. Really. Truly. Absolutely!