Boy #2 looked across the lunch table and told #3, "I hate you."
Inside, I was screaming. We've been through this before. They -- all four of them -- know that saying they "hate" someone is completely unacceptable. We've told them, over and over again, that it's OK to be mad, it's Ok to feel angry, and it's even OK to not like someone, but it's not OK to hate someone -- especially when that someone is your brother.
We've talked, over and over, about how it can be hard to get along sometimes, how the ones we live with are often the ones who annoy us the most. We've expressed sympathy. We've laid down the law. We've worked to create connections. And yet -- there was #2, saying he hated #3.
I took a deep breath. "Go get a piece of paper and a pencil and sit down." #2 grumbled, but complied.
I took the pencil from him and wrote "10 Things I Like About 3" on top. (OK, I didn't really write "3." I used his name.) #2 isn't a completely independent reader, but he knew what I wrote.
"Aaaaaaaaaawww, 10? Can't you make it 5?"
So he sat. And he thought. His first "like" -- "I like it when #3 is gone!" -- was not quite what I was looking for. His second try -- "He gives me money" -- was closer. By number 8, he'd gotten around to, "Sometimes he's sort of funny."
The whole exercise made me think. It's easy for me to tell you the things I don't like about my kids. It's easy for me to tell you the myriad ways they're frustrating me. But do I really take time to think about all the things I like about my boys?
So I present 10 Things I Like About My Boys:
- They challenge my thinking
- They inspire me to be a better person
- They teach me things (Thanks to my boys, I now know the difference between a crappie and a bluegill)
- They give me a great excuse to go to the museum. And the zoo. The park too.
- They've introduced me to the wonder of bugs. And dinosaurs.
- They connect me to my Dad in a way nothing else has.
- They love me -- and tell me so frequently.
- They're not afraid to try new things
- They're kind and helpful (for the most part)
- They're convenient. I never have to comb their hair and they can pee anywhere.
What about you? What do you like about your boys?