The Crossroad (A Narrative By A Father)

Recently a blogger friend wrote about her exploits with her kids and how she is afraid to let go. I imagine she and my wife are in the same boat. My son, who is 8, has been struggling for control with his mother for the last year or so now. Frustratingly, he calls to her for just about anything & everything, and then he turns around and decides what he wants to do. Prime example being his homework. Christopher likes to ask for help and then, when his mother or I try to help him, he gets snotty and despondent. This strikes me as funny coming from a boy who can barely remember his middle name half the time (gets that from me), but I find it somewhat hopeful that now that he IS trying to break free of the “leash”, he will find out what the word “responsibility” means.

I gotta think that the animals that live in the wild are more attuned to this sort of nurturing than we are.  Animal cubs/chicks/pups/etc get maybe a year…and that’s a long time. From there they are on their own. Humans, on the other hand, coddle and kiss boo-boo’s and try to make life so picture perfect for our kids.We do this for probably a lot longer than we should. I know MY kids aren’t lacking when it comes to entertainment and clothing and food and toys. They have everything they need and much more. So for my son to be giving us a hard time is new to us but I get it. And I gotta respect it. But I explained it to him in a way that I thought he might understand and it went a little something like this…

Me: “Christopher, the way I see it…you’re at a crossroad.”

Christopher: “Huh?”

Me: “A crossroad. You know…when you’re riding your bike and you’re going straight but then you see a turn and you decide you might want to go that way instead so you do, even though everyone else is going straight. A crossroad.”

Christopher: “I don’t get it.”

Me: (picking up a pencil and flipping over his homework assignment) “Look…it’s like this…(drawing a cross-like road and and a makeshift stick bike)…you’re riding this way (north), following your mother and me. Suddenly we come upon a stop sign (drawing sign badly). We continue north but you see that there are other options. You could go left or right OR you can follow us. At this point, it’s YOUR decision to make. Do you want to follow us? Or do you want to make a few decisions on your own and make some mistakes along the way? It’s your call.”

Christopher: (Looking at me with those big blue eyes that he got from me) “….ummmm….”

Me: “Do you understand what I’m saying? You can decide what you want to do. Do you turn left and maybe find something new and exciting (drawing a left hand turn on the paper with a happy face)? Or do you go right and get yourself into a lot of trouble (drawing a right hand turn on the paper with a frowning face)? Or do you follow us and let us lead your way? Your call.”

Christopher: “Hmmmm…” (he looks at me and then at the paper)

Me: “Do you understand ANY of this?”

Christopher: “Yeah Dad. I get it. Sooooo….”

Me: “What? You gonna go left, right or straight?”

Christopher: “Well…I’m not sure. (takes a few seconds) But…shouldn’t we erase all that before I have to turn in my paper?”

And so it has been decided…the leash stays on for a little while longer…


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1 Response to The Crossroad (A Narrative By A Father)

  1. mom says:

    That’s so funny!!! I LOVE watching my kids teach their kids!!! Good work, son. Love…

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