When faced with a parenting dilemma I seldom fall back those parenting books filled with time honored suggestions. The fact that I’ve never had any interest in reading them says more about me than the books.
For better or worse, I trust my instincts.
Last night was one of moments where my instincts told me to chill out, have a seat and shut up. My son attended a scouting activity and expected to be presented with an advancement. But it wasn’t to be. Although he’ll be honored next month, he was crushed. He worked hard to pass off the last few requirements, the last of which was building a birdhouse.
When the pack meeting was over, I tried to cheer him up, but the right words escaped me. I don’t know that there was anything I could say to console him. If there was, I was not tuned in to receive them because my thoughts were focused on locating someone to blame.
As we drove home I thought about how I was going to fix the problem. My son was upset. Someone dropped the ball and I wanted them to understand how that must feel to a 9 year old boy, who had done everything he was supposed to. Very little was said on the drive home. I didn’t want to make things worse by forcing small chat on him.
As we got out of the car, I asked “Would you like to play racquetball with me tomorrow night?”
He’s never played before. But he loved taking tennis lessons this summer, and I figured it would take his mind off the evening. I located my old racquet in the garage and we practiced hitting balls off the wall calendar before mom arrived home, and could put a stop to it.
When I awoke this morning I considered shooting off an email to the leader explaining how hurt my son felt. Doing so would have made me feel better, but it wouldn’t change anything. The meeting was over and my son would have to wait another month.
When I was my son’s age, I participated in the scouting program to the degree that it didn’t interfere with baseball or basketball. Often, it did interfere which was fine with me because the idea of sleeping in a tent, cooking meals over a fire and wearing a uniform sounded about as fun as a haircut.
My son met me at the door when I arrived home from work. We gathered our equipment and headed to the gym where we played racquetball together for an hour. Other than the time he learned to solve the Rubik’s Cube I’ve never seen him happier. When he hit the ball into my stomach and couldn’t stop laughing I knew my son was back.
I didn’t focus another second on what he gone wrong the night before, because it no longer mattered.