Friday, April 20, 2018

Give Them the Chance to Prove you Wrong!

February 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Our Kids

Do we set our expectations to firmly in the ground? Do we always know what our kids will do? Are there times where we unfairly limit our kids based upon our beliefs?

Once in a while, we have to give them the chance to prove us wrong – very wrong. My son PJ recently went down a path that surprised me and I resisted the temptation to chastise and re-direct him. I’m glad that I did!

My father had an old, yet basically untouched computer from when my Mom passed, over ten years earlier. It was essentially a paperweight to him. He offered it to PJ, thinking he might find some use for it. PJ’s eyes lit up as he gratefully accepted.

On the way home, PJ suggested he could salvage some parts from an old computer we had at home. This was starting to sound like a misadventure. We have this computer from my father that was working as if it was brand-new and PJ was going to “fix” it.

To my knowledge, PJ at 13 years old, had never opened up a computer before. I wanted to be supportive, yet still control the situation. “Why don’t we wait until next weekend and we can look at it together?” Heh-heh-heh…problem solved!

Upon returning from work the next day, I find PJ in the middle of tools and two computers, which are both disassembled to the last screw! The only things missing were the blowtorch and the jackhammer!

It took the wind out of me. My initial instinct was to scream my head off! Instead, I took a breath and collected myself. I reminded PJ that we had agreed that he would wait until we could work on it together. He apologized, telling me that he didn’t realize. Whether this was a matter of his ADHD helping him “miss” the conversation or strictly his impulsiveness getting the best of him, I’ll never know.

I told PJ that I hoped he wouldn’t regret starting the project, but left it at that. In my heart, I was convinced that we just lost two computers.

Sometimes you have to resist the urge to tell your kids what they should or should not do. Sometimes it’s more important to allow them the chance to express themselves, without fear of ridicule or reprisal. Become their biggest fan and a “true believer”.

In the end, PJ did surprise me. He spent a few hours over the following week and built a working computer out of the best components from each.

What did PJ get out of this little experiment? His friends were interested in his work. He increased his pride and confidence. He added a memory to the “win” column.

When I offered PJ congratulations, his response was what you might expect: “No big deal – it was easy…”. But a father can see past the face. He was elated inside and that was what mattered.

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2 Responses to “Give Them the Chance to Prove you Wrong!”
  1. AJ says:

    I surprised myself by disassembling my brother’s brakes on his bike and putting them back together so that they worked better than before


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