If I wasn’t already convinced of my enabling issues, last night clinched my good standing-status in the “let me do it for you” club … all thanks to Cotillion.

Cotillion. The right of passage for many young people who begrudgingly submit themselves to etiquette coaches that do Emily Post proud. From learning how to dance, to considering proper cell phone use, to knowing the positioning and use of tableware … all facets of foundational social graces are addressed in Jon D. Williams’ 6-week session.

It has been great. Worth every penny. But each Wednesday night, we hit a bit of a high stress level as the doorbell announces the arrival of our carpool. With the ride at the door, neither my teen nor I have any clue how to tie the darn tie that is to accompany his proper attire (Khaki pants, blue blazer, black shoes, belt, dress shirt and tie). Considering it has been five weeks, you would think one of us would have learned by now.

Here’s where the enabling enters the picture. Also, have I mentioned my procrastination disorder? The out of site, out of mind thing. The “we’ll remember to get dad to teach us next week” excuse. Well next week has come and gone five times. Thank goodness for the kid in the carpool who has been doing it for us. But tonight, no such luck. Super-Knot Kid has hopped a different carpool.

“Where’s Dad?” (typical teen question…he knows his dad is at work)
“Well, he’s not here.”
“Mom… My Tie!!”

Just to paint an accurate picture. All of this is occurring at the home-work home-stretch and dinner time. I have a two kids pelting me with math and grammar questions. The younger ones, who had been entertaining themselves on the trampoline for the last several hours, have just run into the kitchen announcing they’re “HUNGRY!!!” The baby wants a drink. So he’s perched at my side insisting in louder and louder tones, “Mas Nookie. MAAHS NOOKIE!!!”. No. That doesn’t mean what it could… he’s asking for more milk– in a Spanish-baby sort of way. (I’m starting early on languages :)

“I don’t know how to tie a tie.” I remind him.
“What am I going to do?! I can’t go without my tie done. Everyone will make fun of me.”
(He’s right. Kids can be mean)
“Let’s YouTube it. There’s got to be a video.”

And there it is. “How to tie a Windsor Knot”. We watch it together. Then proceed to follow each step just like the guy demonstrates. Right side longer than the left, loop over, then under … a little twist. Uhmm – No go.

I don’t get it. How can he make it look so easy – yet, when I do exactly what he shows, there is no knot – just a clump. And … why am I flipping one side of the tie over the other? Why isn’t the kid doing it? Why didn’t he ask his dad to teach him how to tie a tie. WHY DIDN’T DAD INITIATE TEACHING HIS KID TO TIE A TIE??!! … I compose myself.

Learning how to tie a tie may be an art passe – not on the front burner these days of casual wear. But that’s not the issue. The issue is… my child had settled into the “how can you serve me mode”. Instead of stepping up to the plate and learning how to do it himself, he’s content to go so far as to let his friend tie his tie. And let me point out, Super-Knot Kid was taking care of everyone’s tie, not just my ours.

I hope someday soon, the boy will be empowered to figure out even the small things like fixing his tie. Maybe our Extreme Home Makeover – Revolution Style will help all of our children realize they can do so much more than they think they can.

I relay the events to Jon when he gets home. His response? … Get a clip-on. Hmmm…I think we know who needs Cotillion!

Thanks for walking the road with me.

Poor guy. Sadly, this was my best effort.

Poor guy.
Sadly, this was my best effort.

Open for Discussion
Andy had a great Comment the other day about reading and its benefits. What are your teen/tween’s favorite books? Not only the mind candy variety, but also the rich classic literature? And … how do you inspire your kids to read?

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