Motherhood 101: Raising Decent Men


On Wednesday my son went to his car to head to work and saw his car had been hit. There was blue paint along his back bumper, which was cracked from end to end. He was bummed out and called to tell me what happened. He couldn’t understand how someone could hit his car so strongly and simply walk away. He was sad and I was angry.

It would've been upsetting on any day, but this was his first day of work at his first job, which made it particularly annoying. I explained we would get it fixed and not to worry. I suggested he take pictures of the car and where it was parked, then call his insurance company and let them know. We then went off about the dumbass that hit him.

We spoke of how selfish and stupid they were, while mentioning what a bitch karma was. We spent five minutes talking about this horrible person who hit his car and it made us feel better. It was a release to get the frustration out. We were assuming the worst about a person we didn’t know, yet it was oddly cathartic and satisfying.

It led to a conversation about adulthood and unexpected expenses. We talked about the value of money, how one thing can set you back financially, and how important it is to be decent. He ended up feeling better when we were done and while still upset, he knew if it were him who hit someone, he would leave a note and do the right thing. 

After we worked through his feelings we had a good laugh he headed to work. I hung up only to have him call back a minute later sounding very upset. I asked him what was wrong and he said he felt just terrible because the person who hit his car had actually left a really lovely note under his windshield wiper and he only saw it when he got in the car.

The note explained this man had rolled back into my son’s car rather quickly at a bad angle due to a dip. He left his name, phone number, and driver’s license, asking the owner of the car call when they got the note and he would arrange for the car to be repaired immediately. It was a decent and kind letter from a stranger.

The truth is had he not left the note, we never would have known who he was or what happened. That he was so decent was amazing and we both immediately felt terrible we had spent so much time talking about what an ass this person was. We both felt guilty and stupid for having assumed the worst when I have always taught him to assume the best

My son took his car to the shop for an estimate, met with the young man who hit his car, and was given the money to cover the repair. It was an unfortunate way to meet someone, but it was proof that people can be kind and decent. The car will be fixed next week and my son learned some very valuable lessons about himself and the life of a grown up.

He now values his paycheck in a way he didn’t before. He would have been working just to fix his car so he appreciates his hard work, values the decency of a stranger, and has a real understanding of how hard it is for people when something unexpected happens to change their financial situation. His lessons were felt deeply which touched me.

Beyond the simple relief of not having to pay for the car himself, he looked beyond the surface and understood the struggle of people who live check to check. He felt blessed to live the life he does and inspired to help others who aren't as fortunate. I have a great son and he is his own person, but confirmation of my hard work is truly amazing.

I brought up this child on my own and while I know I am a great mom, the validation matters, especially when it comes in such an organic way. I've raised a wonderful human being and so has the mother of the young man who hit my son’s car. My son will in turn be a great dad, which makes me very proud. We are blessed and keeping the faith.

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