I do not recall the last time I was a hypocrite, but my son informed me I was – because of casual-traditional dress expectations for my aunt’s 80th birthday dinner at an eclectic little restaurant, tucked into the corner of a little burg in Louisville. Casual traditional consists of the following: a nice J. Crew look with Chino pant with a point collar or button down shirt, belt with loafers. No tie!
Trying to explain to a teen that different occasions require different dress landed me a “Hypocrite.”
Well, that little barb switched a sweet little light bulb on in my head – and, I thought, “hmmmm” – and, suddenly, Hypocrite became the Word of the Month in Blue Cotton Land!
In the laser-beam sights of my mama-mind – a potentially lethal weapon – was the persona my son has adopted – a country-boy persona.
I clicked on my laser, aiming carefully, “What a hypocrite! Linguistics Class in graduate school taught that children learn dialect and grammar from their parents. We don’t talk like that – so you’re just a hypocrite.”
Now, all my boys like all types of music – a little rock, a little jazz, a little veggie-tale, a little classical, a little Christian rock – and a lot of country. Well, country music became my partner in hypocrite-awareness development.
Country music has a lot about whiskey, cheatin’ and rebellion – but, country music also promotes the country-boy image of loving God, mama and America!
So, somewhere around mile 500, after listening to a little Brad Paisley (but let’s get real – there’s a lot of Brad Paisley on the radio) “When I get where I’m going”(God), Chris Young’s “The Man I want to Be” (God), “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood (Patriotism) or Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”(Patriotism) or “Letters from Home” by John Michael Montgomery (Patriotism) – well, I set my sights on another layer for a son who doesn’t particularly want to admit he loves his mama or God right now.
“Well, if you’re really a country boy – a true country boy – you love God first, your mama and your country – in that order. If you don’t, well, then you’re not really a country boy. You’re just a hypocrite.”
Sound harsh? Well, sometimes you need to get real. But real in an indirect way. Being a country boy is more than saying “ain’t,” dipping Skoal, going fishing and saying you do not need an education.
All the best arguments will not persuade a rebellious teen. However, a well-placed, indirect argument might just get under their guard. Of course, if that well-placed salvo is greased by prayer – well, then, it just might hit its mark!
A true, bone fide country boy loves God, his mama and America. And, well, if you don’t, then you’re not really a country boy at all! You’re just a faux country-boy which, well, really equals a hypocrite!
Double Bulls-Eye! Lesson delivered! Now, I just need a lot of patience to watch that lesson unfurl!