Flashback Friday! (Boy Talk)
Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!
And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:
What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
BTW, if you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.
What the hell, man?
I’m a mother. I’m nurturing, caring, sensitive, forgiving… soft. Which is the best way to treat a child, right?
My husband? He can be soft, nurturing, sweet…
Flashback: to my son’s first day of homework for the new year of 1st grade, with his new strict teacher.
So, I’m helping my son get his homework done, we do some good reading together, but when it’s time for him to write his spelling words, he balks. He dreams. He doodles. All in all, he spends almost 45 minutes at the table without even writing the first word.
And me? I’m getting worried, angry, frustrated, concerned. Is this all he’ll amount to? (I know, I know. I’m just being honest here, I’m not defending myself or anything.) Will his teacher judge him, give up on him? Does he lack focus? Motivation? A love for learning? Is he tired? Hungry? Worn out?
I decide, yes, one of these last choices for sure, so when he tells me decisively he’s not going to do his homework ‘right now,’ I cave. I give him his shower and some extra time in the water just to chill out & play. I start fixing dinner and think to myself he’ll have more energy, more focus after he eats dinner (never mind that I already fed him apples and Pirates Booty snack).
As I’m cooking – oh let’s be honest, re-heating – I hear my husband come into the dining room, dragging my son with him. Roughly, he forces our child to sit with him. Then, my husband does what in my opinion, he all too often does – he picks a fight with our son. He rough-houses with him, rough-handles him, makes him cry, scream, flail. Which only makes my husband double his effort to even get more control over &/or more of a rise out of him – which one, I’m not sure even he knows.
My husband even pulls me into it at one point – “you wanted him to do his homework, now, don’t disappear!” and I’m stunned because I hadn’t wanted it to go like this, not like this.
I stammer something and retreat to the kitchen. This happens twice. My shoulders are hunched to my ears as I prepare the food.
How could he do this?
Why didn’t he consult with me first?
Why does he always DO this with our son… push him like this?
And finally when my head is about to burst, I hear –
Because my son is suddenly focused on his homework. He is doing it methodically, and doing it well.
My son finishes quickly, and shows me his work. Glowing with pride. Afterward, he is still so happy, he hugs me and kisses me repeatedly.
It calls to mind what a good friend of mine, Hugo Schwyzer, who is a professor in the field of Gender Studies, told me the other night. He is a very liberal, VERY liberal guy (at least in the social/personal side of life – don’t get him started about economics). So I was surprised to hear what he had to say about this subject… He told me that most boys, like my son, have been willful and undisciplined, wild and refusing to listen since the beginning of time.
So, he asked – what is the difference these days? How did those boys of yesteryear wind up quiet and obedient – in class, in Boy Scouts, in the army, etc.? Versus these days, when we hear endless stories of boys bouncing off the wall in classrooms?
His answer: the boys were physically disciplined. They were hit, smacked, shaken, screamed at. Teachers and parents, up until about 30 years ago, disciplined boys like this all over America, with stunning results.
The boys settled down and fell into line.
I am a pacifist. I don’t believe violence is ever the answer. [Side note: I actually took a semester in high school with Coleman McCarthy on pacifism, where he wouldn't give us any grade but A because he thought grades were a form of violence. Nice work for a student if you can get it.]
When my husband roughed up my son, they traveled through a very uncomfortable space (for me) of high drama and a throw-down face-off… and then… they settled into an efficient, focused and productive work session.
Like I said – what the hell?
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)