We told him he had to do it a hundred times. We told him life would be very difficult if he couldn’t. We told him it was entertaining.
It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t listen to us. Anything we said made him mad. He didn’t like doing it David protested.
Then one day he went to school with two dollars, and came home with a book. A book he bought with his own money at the book sale. It was about Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot. You know, stuff little boys like.
David sat down and read it. He read some of it to his little brother. He took the book to bed, and read it by flashlight after lights-out. He got up the next morning and read instead of getting ready for school.
David didn’t want to put the book down.
And just like that, at last, a little boy decided he liked to read after all.
So typically David. My stubborn, strong-willed son who can not be bribed, scared or otherwise persuaded to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Raising him is a lesson in patience.
David didn’t potty train until he was ready. He tries a new food the seventh time you offer it, not the first. He didn’t believe it would hurt to hit a pile of snow on his sled until he tried it, and it made him cry. And he didn’t want to learn to read until he discovered on his own how much fun it is.
We guide. We nudge gently. We take covert action like sending him to school with money to buy a book. But it is almost impossible to influence David merely with our words of wisdom.
So we wait. We wait for him to make up his mind. We wait for someone else, a friend or teacher who isn’t as ignorant as Mom and Dad, to get through to him. We wait for natural consequences to teach him a lesson. That last? Oh it’s a hard, hard way to learn.
“If only you’d listened to us, then…”
It’s hard as a parent to let David learn that way. You so want to rescue him. But you can’t.
I fear this child will always take the long road, the broken road, the road less traveled.
We’ll pack a map in his bag. When he finds his way home, we’ll be here.