Level Three. Do what I say, not what I do.
Level Three – Do what I say, not what I do.
By Michelle Lloyd.
Parents were the people who you could go to when you felt scared, alone and when you needed a little or a lot of love. New One felt himself at an age when he was experienced in what the role of parents were in his life. A mum or a dad could be there for you when it mattered in life and regularly New One found himself trying to please them because when they were happy, he felt happy too.
It was a given that New One felt love from his parents, he could see it in all that they did for him, all the taking to school, preparing his favourite things, being with him to listen to what was major news in his life and doing a lot of parent stuff that he knew he probably didn’t even think about all that much. He loved his parents, they loved him and when New One was asked at school to write a report on his Favourite Idol in life he could not think of anyone he would like more as a role model than his parents.
It was difficult to decide. He could only write his report on one of his parents and so being the diplomatic person he was New One did not want to upset anyone. He found himself having to watch them both at home more and more. Watch, wait and write he would all the positive points and negatives on what both his parents did as jobs. New One’s mum worked in a garden centre, she was an expert in the birds and the bees his dad liked to say and New One could understand why. Birds, bees and buds took up a lot of his mum’s time. New One loved plants, he had taken tips from his mum at an early age and while others his age would have a toy figure by their bed, he had a set of plant pots that he was carefully watching over for signs of what they may be. His mum had set him up with the pots and deliberately not told him what had been planted in each, but for sure was the fact that something interesting could be found in practically everything his mum put in a pot, she was an expert at different sorts of flowers and fruits. New One loved what his mum did for a job and in the plus points went that it was something full of exotic interest, his plants had astounded people before but New One did find being out and about at the garden centre a bit of a problem. He had been stung by a bee on more than one occasion. That was definitely one for the negative column!
New One’s dad walked in as he was sat at the table and gave him one of his cheery smiles. New One watched and waited for why his dad was so happy before he wrote down the possibilities of what his dad did at his job. With eyes narrowed he listened to the news that his dad had sold another one of his ideas at work and his mum kissed him on the cheek as he went about putting down a plus point in his dad’s favour. He eyed his two columns and saw that his dad’s now outdid that of his mum’s job plus points. He had not meant to turn it into a mum vs. dad competition, he loved them both and explained that to them as he told them all about his project for school. They were both his idols in life but for the jobs that they did, New One’s dad won it because when it came down to it he did not want to get stung!
His parents explained that they understood and New One’s dad agreed to even take him into work with him one day so he could get a feel for what he did. On the agreed visit New One had thoughts of all kinds of scenarios in his head, the office would be all full of ideas that his dad had thought of, he had seen his dad’s advertising campaigns before and had even had a hand in painting one of them. New One had a bit of a think and he could see it all. As they drove into the office New One could feel his heart go in his chest at the thought of how exciting it was going to be. All too often his dad would tell them how cut and thrust it was out there in the publicity world, New One had all sorts of ideas about how good it was going to be. All those campaigns to paint, he imagined that his dad probably would need his input and giving people his ideas did not sound bad to him at all.
They got to work. New One’s dad saw a colleague almost straight away and off they went into a chat that seemed to go on, and on, and on, and on… New One felt a bit forgotten in amongst all the talk of rates, reservation, referrals and reports. What seemed an age later New One’s dad seemed to remember him, he introduced him to the other man and then promptly he was sent out to the office. New One tried not to be disappointed when he saw a small chair and table behind a wall. That did not look like what it should be at all. New One waited for his dad but when he did not come for a few minutes he started to wonder off to see what he could find on his own. Surely his dad’s office had to be somewhere else.
New One’s dad found him as he about to walk off to the large looking office and explained that was where his boss worked. New One was sat at the table and told to amuse himself while his dad had to go off to that same large office for a quick meeting. Minutes seemed to go by so slowly and when his dad came back, New One felt disappointment at how things were going and so he tried to tell his dad that this was not at all what he had expected. His dad would not listen though, he was busy he explained and asked if New One could get on with something else for a while. New One was not sure what to do, he saw an interesting looking file on his dad’s table and asked if he could look at that but his response was not a happy one. He was asked to keep quiet for a while please and New One had to admit that that his dad’s job was not looking like what he thought it would be. At home his dad’s office was full of fun things to do, to look at and as long as he asked he could play with almost anything. At the office whenever you asked to do something you were told to sit quietly. New One’s dad had always told him to be polite but he certainly didn’t seem to sound like he did when he talked to him at home. Twice more New One asked to touch something and was refused with a rather upsetting response. He was told there was something important that his dad had to do but if he waited for a while then he would be shown around the office. New One’s dad eventually gave him a book to look at but he had not come to look at books, he wanted to get an idea of what his dad did at work for his school report.
At home New One was told to talk about his feelings, to say if he had a problem and he decided that the same applied to what had happened at his dad’s work. He tried to be diplomatic and explain that he did not think his dad was giving him an opportunity to find out what his work was like but unlike at home his dad snapped at him again. After the book had been put aside New One watched his dad with his sketch pad and tried to work out what he was doing. Ask questions, he had been told at home by his parents, if you do not understand something ask about it. So he did. New One found himself being told off for not being quiet enough and it did not seem at all fair. New One had always had a good relationship with his dad but he thought he was being unreasonable. He was only doing as had been told by his parents and each time he was being told off for it.
The office trip did not go according to plan. Not according to New One’s idea of how it should be. It ended with neither talking to one another. Dad had told New One that he should have acted properly and the same was thought by the other side.
Mum was less that impressed when she saw the two walk in to the house with matching frowns. Neither Dad nor New One would tell her what was wrong. Mum sat everyone down and asked what had happened. Always try to be understanding of people his dad had taught him but New One felt this was not what he did at all. New One watched as his dad told his mum that he had been noisy and relentless with his questions at work. New One could take it no longer and told his mum that his dad had been rude and not patient with him. He had gone to learn something about what his dad did at the office and had been left doubting everything else he had been taught by him about life. It was for mum to take a turn to talk and she told them both that they had been at fault. Parents, she explained, tried to be there for their children, to love them and to teach them important lessons in life. Sometimes it was difficult to practice those lessons, but that did not mean that one should not try to see things from the other person’s side and admit if they had maybe not done things as they should. It was better in life to stop and look at what you had done, people make mistakes and learn from them. What would be worse is if one knew they were doing something wrong and ignored it. Dad looked a bit guilty and apologised to New One. Pressure at work and demands in the meeting had overtaken his time. He admitted that he had been impatient with New One and probably not acted as he had taught him to. New One accepted his apology and after a little look from mum was prompted to apologise to his dad because he knew that maybe he had asked a few too many questions and let his disappointment influence the way he had acted.
New One learnt a lot from his experience with his dad at work. The two tried it again on a less busy day and happily New One found that his dad’s job was more exciting on the second experience of it. When he went in, his dad showed him exactly what the art department did with his sketches and lots of people had time to talk to him about what went on in the publicity world. On the second trip both New One and dad learnt what to do and what not to do. The report received praise from the teacher. New One had thought that all he was going to learn was what his dad’s job was like but he learnt something about parents that he didn’t know. The most important part of learning was not never making a mistake, but by looking at what you had done, admitting if you were wrong and putting things right. If you did that then the little mistakes were not bad things but were opportunities to learn and understand more about life.