Friday, September 10, 2004

Surviving the Antics of One's Male Progeny

Yes, I have a son. He turned twelve years old in August. I don't put any stock in the whole astrology thing, but if I did, I would have to admit that he is a stereotypical Leo. You know, bright, charming, stubborn, with a king-size ego to match. Sort of like his dad, but better looking.

I love the boy. He can be the sweetest kid on the planet. He can also be an absolute pain in the butt. When he and I disagree, something that appears to be happening with increasing frequency, it is like the fabled Clash of the Titans. It is something that I, frankly, can do without.

The thing is that the problems we have are not about things that have some global significance. They have more to do with his doing what he is supposed to do now, instead of when he feels like it. Or that perhaps sometimes he should wear something other than his ubiquitous powder-blue gym shorts and one of his many identical (except for the logo or printing) grey t-shirts. I think the outfits look ridiculous. He thinks they look 'cool.'

I'm 59 years old and this is my first experience with raising a child. My wife has a somewhat more laissez-faire attitude about my son's attire, but I have always thought that how you dress is a pretty good indication of what you are, inside.

Dress like a slob? Chances are, you are sloppy in everything else.

I don't believe in too much unnecessary structure, especially for a precocious, imaginative child. I don't want to churn out yet another politically correct, knee-jerk little robot. I want my son to be someone who thinks. Someone who makes reasoned decisions. Someone who realizes that the way he presents himself to the world is a strong indication of what sort of personality and character reside below the slovenly exterior.

My son doesn't like being told what to do. I didn't either, at his age. I still don't. That is the primary reason that I am in business for myself. No bosses. But a child needs guidance, even if it is sometimes in the form of instructions to do something he doesn't want to do, or to refrain from doing something that he can't wait to do. The key is to find a way to do this without alienating the child and thereby causing a greater problem than might have existed otherwise. Yep. Even for superheroes who can jump over buildings with a single leap, this has got to be a tall order and a great responsibility.

I'll muddle through it. It's a challenge, for sure. I hope I'm up to it. Still, my parents somehow survived raising me, didn't they? I'm sure that wasn't easy.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. The older I get, the more I feel my connection with my past. Growing up is a marvelous adventure, warts and all. Rearing children, if that is the correct terminology, is a different story. As much as we try to help our kids to find their way in life, the more we begin to realize that this is probably the most important task we have to face, but we are rank amateurs. So we resort to how we were raised, and convince ourselves that maybe despite how much we disliked some of the rules laid down by our parents, we didn't turn out that badly. The key word in your blog is love. Believe it,and use it often. Zack is most fortunate. You could get what you want out of your son but leave him room to find his way.