This happened an year or so back, but a recent event triggered the memory of that conversation with my son. I clearly play out that day in my mind.
My son and daughter are arguing- “You said you’ll play basketball with me”, he goes. “Well, I can’t anymore. I have lot of homework”, she goes, I watch this scenario, too tired to intervene and half hoping the issue will resolve by itself as it sometimes does when they somehow manage to arrive at an agreement that is half-pleasing to both. It soon becomes evident that my wisdom [;)] is what will pave the way to peace again and so I abandon the thought of taking a quick “jhupki” and get up. Allow me to side track a little to explain “jhupki” to those who are not aware of the terminology. ‘Jhupki’, although is more commonly known as power nap, the latter does not quite convey the utter longing behind the concept. I simply have to have my ‘Jhupki’, unperturbed with the happenings around. So to get that ‘jhupki’, I had to resolve the situation fast.
“It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind”, I tell my son. He seems confused, clearly he was expecting me to side with him. “What do you even mean? And do you even hear her lame excuse?”.
“No matter what the reason, a woman has the right to change her mind. If a girl says ‘yes’ to you ten times, but the 11th time, she says ‘No’, then, ‘NO’ it is. Always remember that. Now. Through your dating years. Always.” I say with all the right emphasis.
Now, I don’t remember my daughter’s reaction to it, but my son is not quite satisfied. He says, “What about the boys, Mom? Don’t we have the prerogative to say no too?”. “Of course, you do too”. I say. I tell both of them, always remember, ‘Don’t Say Yes, When You Want To Say No’, I throw in another of my favorite saying, with emphasis again.
I did get my ‘jhupki’ that day. But I can’t, in all honesty, claim that my kids never argued on similar subjects again. In fact, what triggered the memory of that conversation was an almost identical situation. My son and daughter, now 11 and 15 respectively, were arguing over some promise that she made to him, that she wasn’t going to be able to keep it after all. There’s this movie that they had decided to watch together but she ended up making plans of seeing it with her friends. I always do try to let them work things out first, so as I watch I hear my daughter say this to her little brother-
“Now listen carefully. Say, your girl friend promises to watch a movie with you, but changes her mind and sees it with her friends instead- be a gentle man about it. Okay? Remember, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. It’s my prerogative to say No, and say NO I do. Besides, I don’t want to say yes when I want to say no”- with that she took off. For some reason, my son simply went, “Oh well!”
I can’t even begin to describe the thoughts that cross my mind at that moment.
#1. She gets it! Even though the target disciple for the imparted wisdom was my son, I’m so glad my daughter understands and works with it. After all, she’s the one who I hope will make full use of it and will not feel obliged to give in to any boy’s wishes in any form whats-so-ever.
#2. He gets it! Or maybe not. Perhaps not yet. But with a big sister ready to recapitulate it at every opportunity possible, he soon will.
#3. Oh no- she’s going to use it against him to walk out of situations to suit her convenience. Oh well, it’ll be a learning experience for both of them 🙂