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We have amazing patients. It’s true. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have the best patients in the entire world! If I’m ever needing advice or a little lift, there is always a patient that will tell me the exact thing I need to hear. That happened today.
My twin boys are 14 1/2 and they are full-fledged teenagers. It hit Jens about 6 months ago, and I really thought Josh would stay unaffected. I was wrong. Three weeks ago it hit Josh, and it came on fast and strong. He’s making up for lost time with the attitude, arguing and simple annoyance at everything that has to do with the family! I watched it happen to other teenagers, but never thought it would happen to my boys. How naive…
I have a clear memory of me at their age. I thought my mom and dad were SOOOO behind the times. They just didn’t get me. (I found a classic attitude picture of me and attached it – check out the 80s hair and my dorky younger brothers – no wonder I had attitude!) It’s killing me to know my sons are thinking the same thing about me!!
I’ve been struggling with this the last few weeks, and it came to a head with the Thanksgiving turkey. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I got a little crazy with the turkey this year. I bought a monster 35 pounder. We had to do some serious shimmying to get it into the brining bucket. I asked my son to help me carry the now 50 pound sloshing bucket of turkey and brine to the car. Simple thing. Well, his iPod was way more important than me. After asking a second time and being ignored, I decided to show him. I started to carry the turkey myself, and after getting doused with raw turkey juice, my husband came to the rescue. My son came in and I’m sure my stare could have sliced through that raw turkey! He asked what was wrong (wrong question), and I lost it! We got into a shouting match about how irresponsible he was being, me ending up in tears and him stomping up to his room at the end.
Not a real proud parenting moment. I fretted all weekend about not wanting to ruin my relationship with my sons. How was I going to do this?? Well I got my answer today. I have a sweet patient named Marie that always sees the world through kind glasses. Now that she’s a grandma, helping to raise her grandkids, I figured she had been through this a time or two. She patiently looked at me and said, “It’s all about giving compliments.” She said teenagers are already too critical of themselves. They don’t need us constantly pointing out the things that are wrong about them too. She said nothing softens better than a compliment. As we talked more, we realized this is good advice for everyone, not just teenagers. She’s coming in again in a few weeks, and I have to report to her about my 12 days of Compliments (instead of 12 days of Christmas!)
I tried it tonight. When they came in the door from basketball practice I told them how much I loved watching them play. I told they how handsome they looked and gave them both hugs. It was like magic. They hung around in the kitchen and talked to me about their day. They joked with me and asked my opinion on a couple of things. Really…it’s this easy. Maybe it is.
I think compliments can change everyone, soften every heart, lighten every load. That’s my challenge to you all today. Let’s all do the 12 days of Compliments. I bet it will bring more rewards than any present you could buy. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories, and share all of mine! Thank you for being one of our amazing patients, and thank you for helping to make me a better person!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen