When my oldest was 11, he came to me and asked to do more creative writing. While his stories flowed freely, the process did not. He bought a creative writing handbook that was geared towards middle and high school students and the first advice was to, of course, write something every day. He started journaling and often asked me to pick a topic for him. One day, I grabbed my trusty writing prompts book and picked “If you were a parent, would you be strict or not? Why or why not?”
Now why did I pick that juicy little tidbit? Some might call it a trap. Or a no-win question. Or a “what do you want to hear so I can be sure to say it” question. Truth is, I was curious enough to hear his answer that it was worth the possible blow to my ego. My ego is not easily wounded (because I’m AWESOME) so I knew I could take it.
His journal entry:
I would probably be a little strict like house rules but also be flexible like staying at a friend’s house an hour more but I would kind of match the kid’s personality. I would probably do this because I was raised that way. If I was raised just strict or just flexible I would probably raise my kids like that. If I was raised strict I would still be nice to them because I want them to come to my house when I’m 50.
Ignoring the kind of probably sort of non-committal tone, I think this is pretty darn awesome.
- First, and most importantly to me, he perceives the way he is being raised pretty much the way I like to think I parent — flexible, yet consistent. So SCORE on fooling him on that one.
- Second, he recognizes that we often do things because it’s what we know.
- Lastly, he recognizes that even if he does what he was raised to do, he needs to adapt it for his desired result. In this case, it’s so the children will still visit when he’s old and alone. And that will apparently occur at the age of 50.
And I always appreciate reminders, then and now, that his brain functions above and beyond the bare minimum needed to play Minecraft. It makes a mama proud.