It was these very words that sparked a new way of parenting for me fours years ago, and became the catalyst for this blog.
As any parent knows, dealing with a teenager creates a whole new level of challenges. As the hormones kick in, that once sweet, little, abiding child becomes a disconnected, zoned out, somewhat disrespectful foot-dragging walker. Testing you at every turn.
One has to get creative when approaching such a creature.
Just as I was at my wits end, it entered my mind that maybe, just maybe, by using “The Walking Dead” (our new found bonding agent) as a tuning fork, I could break through the teen brain fog and make a connection that my son would understand.
My Son had already connected to the character of Carl Grimes, the teenager on the show, so that was where I turned first.
With that in mind, I thought what better a way than then to ask, “What would Carl do?” at the times my Son was slacking and not carrying his share of the load. Or just plain not making wise choices about how he uses his time, particularly with schoolwork due.
The first time I said it, my Son heard me, immediately, and gave me a strange look, like “what are you up to?” I just smiled, said think about it and walked away.
Over time these words have evolved based on what Carl was up to on “The Walking Dead.” Some seasons Carl has been a beaming example for my Son, other seasons he proved to be “What Not To Do” and I used both to my advantage.
Yes, at times my Son got annoyed, but because he was annoyed, I knew he knew what I was getting at.
Of course Carl wasn’t the only character that made for great examples. There is a huge cast on TWD, with characters behaving badly and saintly, all of which make for examples. The subject matter of the show, surviving a zombie apocalypse, sets up for a plethora of behaviors ripe for the picking.
Some may think I’m crazy for even considering such a notion as to use fictitious characters as examples of what to do or not do in life, but I can honestly say I’ve seen growth with my Son since adopting this tactic.