Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The painful getting of wisdom

Young nephew was to stay over tonight. He was originally supposed to stay over at Grandma's place up the road, but chucked a sooky wobbly at his mother who had to work out of town for the weekend - you know, the nine year old guilt making big quivering teary eyed kind of wobbly that doesn't involve actual crying, just the welling hint of unhappiness.

We collected him from the bus as planned, and invited Grandma down for dinner so she could spend maximum time with him, but then suddenly the plan changed with Grandma asking if we could we eat at 5 pm, because 'their' favourite TV program was on at six and 'they' wanted to get back in time for it (us not having TV). So, the roast chicken that would have landed on the table out of the oven to the table here was carved up and taken with trimmings to her place.

I am not entirely insensitive - she was staking her claim on her very own grandson and it didn't really put me out at all, but when I remembered that G-Man was going to be at a meeting this evening, and in the morning we have to get up a sparrow fart to send some calves to market, I figured that really, the best place for him to stay overnight was with Grandma. So, I quizzed him on the reason for his reluctance to stay there, and why he really really wanted to stay at our place. Turns out, the best he could come up with was that He might get bored.

Sure, hanging out with G-man is about as good as it gets if you're a kid, and I do have broadband, but I'd be working on the computer so that wasn't an option for him, and seeing as the G-man would be absent for most of the evening, didn't he think that staying here tonight would be a total dud and that Grandma was holding a lot more aces in the fun stakes?

A sooky teary agreement followed, then I went into narky old aunty mode. Stop right there boyo. The sooky teary thing doesn't work on me - seenit, doneit, beenit. My son had the same problem at your age; he didn't want to go to his grandma's either, but this isn't about just you. It's about her too. Grandpa is gone and somebody has to be there to keep her company and seeing as you are the only one available, the job has your name on it. Sorry, that's just the way it is. It's called responsibility. You are in a family, and everyone has a responsibility to each other. Now that you are nine, you have to step up to the plate and shoulder some of it. You can't pull the baby bullshit anymore - this is called growing up, OK?

So he sucked back the tears, went outside to wipe them away and came back in quiet but seemingly cheerful and proceeded to do the right thing.

Good boy.
Good noble, philosophical, empathetic boy.

Tomorrow night will be a fun filled reward for his personal sacrifice, which I will point out to him at some stage in the evening and praise him for.

How can kids know this stuff unless they learn it? Best way to learn anything, especially empathy, is while you are in the middle of the emotion you eventually attach to that getting of wisdom, painful as it might seem at the time.


  1. HAH!, I wouldn't raise the colours and run out the guns at ya...whats the 9 year old thinking...Bloody hell talk about a massacre in the making. lol.

  2. The more I think about it, he had his reasons - he and his mother are moving house and his whole world is being packed into boxes and he's no doubt a little traumatised. But I'm of the Birmo school of parenting - break their spirit early and often.

  3. yeah, they do need reminding occasionally, just WHO's Sand box it is that they are IN

  4. Geez, now I feel like a dragon. All my kids got was this is where you are going and what you are doing. And if they knew they didn't have a decent enough arguement they didn't even bother with the tears.
    But on the same note,they all learned from a young age, to care and to share.

  5. Kids cannot learn that kind of stuff unless patient adults - whom the children respect - teach it to them.

    Your nephew is a very, very lucky young man.

  6. "How can kids know this stuff unless they learn it"

    looking around at a lot of selfish, thoughless, insenitive and ego centric folk that we all meet everyday I would hazard to reply

    They don't.

  7. Its the sort of stuff which in my family sort of seeped in. We just took it in turns to do our grandmother's lawns, to stay at her place, that sort of thing. It was just stuff we did. A parent would say "You're at Nannas from 3.00 this arvo, staying overnight. Take your nice pyjamas."
    Helped a bit by Nanna being a cricket tragic.

  8. Had to undertake similar stay overs myself. But then my Nan's always spoiled me so why wouldn't i go?

    Was very big on the 'whats in it for me' school of Phil as a lad

  9. I found that thrashings from my father and school masters helped!

  10. 'narky old aunty mode.'

    Oh Hughesy, I am so laughing now.

  11. you want to be an aunt to my kids?