Living the Sweet Life: A Beautiful Responsibility

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized portrait artist and award-winning columnist –

By Alisa Nationally recognized portrait artist and award- winning columnist.

Alisa Murray

I really like wearing a cape – figuratively speaking, of course – and given the opportunity to be a superhero at any time in my life has, and I am sure will continue to be, ideal. Now, my time has come! Many already know that as the children have grown in my family client base, they have attached the name “Auntie A” to me. It is a name of endearment, and through it, I have a furthered sense of belonging to a great extended family. I rather love that a small child would name me and want to share their thoughts and greater still, as a teen, actually listen. This has been a long journey in the making.

I can argue, because I am old enough now to win the argument, that although children need us to rear them at all ages, it is imperative that they have an adult in whom they confide during the teen years. These special years are the most difficult to navigate because of puberty, and now, with what I call the “social media situation,” it’s just plain scary. Teaching them what to do and what not to do is an enormous task and a beautiful responsibility.

I try to be hip and not seem like an old “fuddy duddy.” That is probably why I know a lot about what all of my children are doing, and the questions they have usually get asked openly on a multitude of subjects. Even so, I am not stupid enough to think for a minute they are not doing what children do, which is test limits and try things on for size. Parenting is different at every age and stage, but being trusted and confided in takes time.

Through my talks with teens, I have come to realize that many do not understand the importance of manners and the future impact of their social behaviors. It might surprise you that most teens do not know how to balance a checkbook or understand that all of their texts will come back to haunt them. Deep down, each of them is looking for solid advice, just not from their parents, so that they can make sense of their world and tough decisions.

Recently, I did a little research to see if I could find a place where teens could go to learn about what to do, what not to do and to ask questions. I found a bunch of etiquette about businesses. I, of course, also found all of the old stuff about setting a table, but what do kids do when they are being bullied? What do they do when someone is pressuring them to do something they do not want to do? Those subjects were next to impossible to find advice and solid facts in an interesting and relatable way. With our lives increasingly influenced by the “social media situation,” it is surprising that this is not taught in our schools. And, all at once, I caught a glimpse of my cape.

Over the past several months, even years, I have been transforming into the superhero that I have always known I could be – and should be. With the encouragement of my daughter and agent, I have developed a show called Auntie A Says. It airs on my Youtube channel by the same name, and I have developed a weekly episode with a year’s worth of content for our youth. I am excited to tell you right from wrong in a world that has all but forgotten basic etiquette. I feel like I have transformed fully into the name given to me by our children. Mostly, I hope that I will be able to influence many more children through social media to make their world a better place.

Take Care of YOU!