Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is the absence of something, itself something?

My brother and his son were over for a jam session yesterday. As they were leaving, my brother asked my son what he had planned for the summer. My son answered with every teenager's favourite word: "Nothing."

Rather than just leaving things at that, I interjected some of my son's plans for the summer. After my brother and nephew left, my son asked me why I had shared private information about him, when clearly he himself, by not volunteering any information, had indicated that he didn't want to talk about it. I replied that I had taken the silence after his demurral as a sign that perhaps Daddy could take a moment to brag about his son's plans a bit.

This is what he said in reply: "Sometimes, Dad, the absence of a sign is the sign." I digested that thought for a moment and had to admit that there was something to his logic. So, next time he doesn't volunteer any information about himself, I won't either. And every time he doesn't do something he is supposed to do, I will have to try to analyze what his inaction means. And when I have it all figured out, I'll write a book.


  1. Every night before kissing my girls goodnight I tell them "thanks for teaching me how to live". It drives the 13 year old nuts, makes the 11 year old smile in a sweet, melancholic way, and the baby who is almost 10, giggle. Kind of sums up what being a parent is all about. What a ride...

  2. "What a ride." Yep. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  3. Maybe my son could talk to your son and they could both decide what to tell, or not tell, us.

    Once, my son walked about three feet ahead of me down the sidewalk. When I asked him why, he said, "You're wearing a pink skirt." Like I'm living to embarrass him.

    Sometimes, we just can't win.

  4. Hm. I have to think about this one a bit. :) Interpreting inaction is generally impossible because there can be so many reasons. Having nearly gone nuts in the past trying to do that, I've now given up.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And it doesn't mean anything.



  5. "You're wearing a pink skirt." Yep, that's a pretty good reason, isn't it, Bellezza? Chani, I agree. Things are what they are, and I don't really read too much into every little thing that transpires. I just find it all amusing, or puzzling, or both.

  6. I'll buy that book. (it ought to be a best-seller.) I could use some help w/my (no longer teenaged)son.

  7. "The absence of a sign is a sign."

    You know.. that is so true, but not always, but when it has been.. oh.. my spinning head.

    If I could go back and change something - I'd learn that lesson much, much earlier.

  8. Sounds complex, though I don't think the boy has one:)