Saturday, July 08, 2006

Well He SURE Didn't Get It From Me

Jake has been spending a lot of time with Mr. Holland this week, and I have learned so much from watching them about how I grew up and what influences my uncles had on my life. I come from a family that is very funny, peculiar, self-depricating, and self-confident. But we're brave, and Jake is not. Jake is struggling with accountability.

I have observed Walter's and Jake's exchanges, whether it be during flying rockets, or blowing up ridiculously expensive boxes of fireworks, or Walter reading beloved children's books to him. What struck me, fiercely, is that visiting Uncle Walter once-in-a-great-while is not often enough. I see that Jake cannot bear to be wrong, or to have made a mistake. And I see that he cannot, will not, accept accountability and stand up tall and proud by owning his error--no matter how small the error or bad decision is.

The trip has been a great time, and I have so many stories to tell you. But, in true mother form, I am dwelling on the negative moments that I have with my ten year old. To be fair, those moments are magnified by the fact that Olivia has been her usual malleable, flexible, charming self. When we got on the plane and the woman occupying the seat in front of us saw that I was sporting a ten-month old, she loudly announced that she had the worst luck. "Everytime I get on a plane there is a baby that screams the entire time," she confided to her seatmate. Olivia failed to fulfill this woman's vision of the ride, and was also unable to learn from me how to kick the seat in front of her. "Oh," the woman shared with me later. "You have the best baby."

I have been hard on Jake. It was just he and I for a long time, and it is a heavy burden on a child, wondering if his father loves him, likes him. But I want to make this story end well. So, if you can tell me who to blame for his inability to accept responsibility, let me know. Okay, okay, I am only kidding. But how will I fix this? How will I get him to raise his hand and say, "It was me, I did it, and I am sorry."?

Oh Mr. Holland, he's your Great Nephew. What do we do?


tracy said...

Did you take responsibility, accountability and say you were sorry and actually mean it at 10 years old? or did it come with age and wisdom? I think we are tough on our kids and might forget what we were like at 10. There are times I want to call my parents and say, hey was I like this at 10? But I don't make the it I'm afraid of the answer, perhaps...

Jack said...

I know a certain boy who once said, "I liked being an only child. I didn't want a sister, and having two sisters at the same time is more than any eight-year-old can handle." I'm sure that despite the wonderful blog entries of how much he loves Olivia, that there are issues he must deal with. (Other issues aside, it sure sounds like he deals with his sister better than certain other boys did.)

I have a daughter who doesn't take responsibility for her actions. I find it difficult to teach personal responsibility. She is slow to figure out that "Katie told me to" or "Katie made me do it" counts for less than squat.