Saturday, January 12, 2013

He Got it from Me.

My oldest (almost 4) started gymnastics today.  It was his very first class without me and I felt a little heavy-hearted on our way there.  We had a quick conversation in the car about expectations.  "You are going to need to be a great listener," I told him.  "Even if you have another idea or you would rather not do it, they are your teachers and it's important to do as they ask."  He thought for a moment then asked, "But why?  I just want to do whatever I want."  I did my best to explain how fun it is to learn new things but he wasn't buying it.  "I think I'll just jump in the foam pit instead."  

We pulled into the parking lot and I abandoned my cause.  We made our way into the gym and found out that they have a play area set up for little siblings while the big boys enjoyed the class.  My little one and I started jumping on a trampoline and I heard my son's name being called over and over.  "We need to stay in line with the other boys, please," the teacher gently admonished.  Each time the boys would line up for turns, my son would start twirling, run away or jump ahead of the other kids.

At first I was embarrassed.  Should I step in?  Should I give him "the look"?  No, my gut said.  Let him learn that other people expect him to listen too.  About halfway through he said he had to go to the bathroom and I thought it would be a good opportunity.  "How's it going, bud?" I asked.  "Great except she won't let me do anything I want to do" he said in an exasperated voice.  "Let's just get out of here."

"We can't leave," I told him.  "She is going to teach you how to do all kinds of cool things and it's good for you to practice listening and following directions." 

"Yeah, I decided I just don't like to be teached," he announced with a finality that was beyond his years.

He did end up heading back in and he did do a tiny bit better with staying focused.  A tiny bit.  I only heard them say his name 10 times instead of 15.  I'm hoping we'll be down to 5 next week.

As I drove home I was thinking about the whole thing and realized that this particular trait came strait from my family line.  None of us like to be told what to do.  All of us own companies or run departments.  We very rarely read directions and feel very little fear about blazing our own trails.  I love that he has inherited this trait but I also know how thin the line is between independence and disrespect.  He will learn more as time progresses.  I hope that I never break his confidence but instill in him a respect for those who have something to teach him.  

What traits have your children inherited from you?  Does the similarity help or hinder you when trying to help them navigate life?

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