I should be better at this.
My son is attending a science camp geared for middle school students at a local college this week and has come home with stories about the experiments the class has performed each day and some of the antics of the other kids.
I’ve been encouraged by the experiments, not so much by the other kids. In short, some of the boys have been rude to the teacher and other students; played video games when they should have been listening; and misbehaved. The behavior hasn’t been crazy or even extraordinary, just bothersome.
Let Dad fix it
When he came home the first day, my dad radar went up right away. I could feel the bile in my throat and my blood pressure start to rise. My first thought was to go with him the next day and take a flame thrower to the class. Okay, that might be a little drastic, but you get my point. I wanted to call or write the teacher, rant and rave, scream bloody murder, and make sure the next day was nothing like the first. In short, I wanted to clean up the problem for my son.
My wife is the wiser one, though, and suggested that we might want to give it a day. She reminded me that sometimes you need to get involved and some times you need to let our your children work things out on their own. And of course, she was right.
Our son came home the rest of the week talking about the other kids. But more importantly, he’s been more appreciative of the little things. He’s come home thanking us for spending the money on the camp and going out of our way to help him enjoy something that he loves.
Crying out for love
In fact, he couldn’t help but tell me the story about one kid trying to get his father’s attention at the end of the second day. The kid simply wanted to tell his dad that he won that day’s competition, but the father was more interested in his cellphone. “Can you believe that dad, the kid simply wanted to show his dad the prize he won? Can you believe that,” my son said.
I thought again about the week: I wanted to fix the problem right away, but maybe in this instance, anyway, the best thing was to simply step away.