Saturday, December 08, 2007


One day, when my daughter Tristan was about 15, I was performing one of my usual chauffeur duties and transporting Tristan and her good friend, Brian, to play practice or some such extracurricular activity. In those days, I used to listen in on my kids' conversations with their friends during such rides, though I would rarely spoil the teenage groove by entering the conversation myself. I always enjoyed picking up juicy tidbits when they didn't particularly know that I was listening.

Anyway, on this one occasion, Tristan and Brian were talking about some relationship issue. Someone had disrespected someone else, or some couple was breaking up, or they were fighting, or something like that. I really cannot remember what the specific issue was, or who was involved. What I do recall is that, at some point, I felt compelled to join in on the conversation and make a comment. I had to give my take on the situation. I don't remember what my take was, or what I said.

The thing that I recall most is the way that my comment was received. While Tristan was stoically silent in response--as was her wont in those days--I heard Brian whisper to Tristan, "Your Pops is pretty sharp."

I liked hearing that. As parents, we often worry that we might be out of touch with our teens, that we are viewed as old fuddy-duddies who don't know what's going on in today's world. Brian's comment made me feel a kind of validation. It was an affirmation that I really might have something to offer to the younger generation, and particularly my own children. It may seem trivial now, but it was significant to me at the time. It was significant enough to me that I well remember it now, some eight or nine years later.