I know this boy. He's Ten. He makes decisions with internal Scales of Justice and it seems as though he is immovable. He cannot yet comprehend his wise Daddy's words, "what's fair is not always equal." He's ours to raise and sometimes, for this "live and let live" woman, the work of teaching grace and love gets real hard.
How do you teach the value of social norms, traffic signals, and schedules while simultaneously teaching that people are more important than rules, that grace is when you don't get what you deserve, and that the greatest thing is love?
His temperament is a gift, it really is, this natural affinity for routines and ability to stick to what he believes in the face of pressure from other people. I will be grateful for this one day.
For now though, we need a little softness, a little understanding and so, like a miner, I chip away at the rock that surrounds the treasure. I search for the gold in the bedrock. I test my own principles against his logic and his attempts to make sense of this life.
He's only Ten! How will I have the words to make it through the next however many years?
The internet authority on everything, Wikipedia, estimates that to even bother mining gold, your location should yield one Troy ounce for every SIX TONS of rock. You have to mine your way through six tons of rock to get an ounce. Sigh. That's a lot of work.
But I've got gold fever.
I've seen gold in them there hills and it only takes one glimpse. I'm hooked.
You chip away and chip away and just when you begin to doubt...
A girl twirls and twirls, inspired by Olympic figure skaters in all their icy glitter and she holds her arms out gracefully as she spins on the carpet. Four people are present but there isn't really an audience. No one pays attention until she falls hard, tripping on her momma's outstretched legs. Mom gasps, too loud and everyone sees. The girl cries in her momma's lap. It's just her pride but it still hurts.
He can't stand it.
That insensitive big brother who would normally throw her under the bus if she even bent a rule,
that boy who makes his decisions by weighing everyone on those scales of justice,
that boy who puts life in neatly defined boxes,
that boy who is wildly creative and lives to play outside with stories in his mind,
that boy who chips away until we play some new game of his own invention,
that boy who draws imaginary creatures on reams and reams of paper.
He can't stand her tears. Not today.
For no reason that I understand he brings her a book on Amelia Earhart and points out some reason she should read it, while she hides her tears in my shirt. She takes the book and slowly opens back up to the room. Minutes later, she slides off my lap and bounces to the front of our attention proclaiming that she was born on the same day as Amelia Earhart and isn't that something?
Life goes back to normal except for that little glow coming from that boy's eyes as it sinks in.
He knows he did right. He knows that he, the boy who seems to be made of rock, he soothed a little girl's heart with kindness. Maybe he adjusts his scales to measure a new kinds of treasures.
More like this?
King Robert of the Wild Hair
Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Parent
Yesterday (the post about the time we were taken over by aliens)