One small step sometimes starts with a shove

My son, the one I commonly refer to as “the Boy” in this blog, is not your most normal of kids.  That’s both a blessing and a huge frustration.

I’ve said to him on many occasions that he’s bundle of possibilities. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else more prepared to take on the world. The amount of talent, skill, knowledge, both intuitive and learned, is staggering. He can quote stats about things I didn’t even think he cared about. Once, when I talked about a really complex idea that was completely fascinating because the two aspects completely contradicted each other, my wife and daughter looked at me like I had two heads. My son said, “Oh yeah, you’re talking about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.” And he was right.

Uncle Albert laughs at your relatives

Uncle Albert laughs at your relatives

At the same time, he’s personable, he’s funny, possessing one of the sharpest wits I’ve ever seen. A few weeks ago, he “performed” the speech he claims he would tell at my funeral. It was completely improvised on the spot and it had us crying from laughter.

Old Graveyard by Petr Kratochvil

Old Graveyard by Petr Kratochvil

So, this is someone that has all the raw materials within him to wrestle what he wants from the world.

The frustration is, he either doesn’t realize it yet, or doesn’t care. Instead, he’s quite content to barely pass many of his subjects, show up late for class, and, when home, focus more on XBox than schoolwork.

I only pray that sometime in the next ten years, something will click for him and he’ll find his passion.  But that’s not what this blog is about.

One of his current obsessions is snowboarding, which I am glad of, because it gets him out of the basement and interacting with people face to face for a change. Plus, it’s great exercise. So I’m glad he’s found it.

But one of the promises he’d made to us just as Christmas holidays were coming up was that he would go write the first written exam toward attaining his driver’s license. And he’d told us a few times that he’d been reading the book. Well, Christmas is a hectic time, and I managed to get sick for the last week of it, so everyone sort of forget about it.

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

A couple of days ago, the Wife and I realized we only had until the end of this week to easily get it.  With his sister also off from college, it was much more convenient to get it prior to next week.

He went snowboarding Thursday. That left only Friday to get it. And it didn’t start well. He woke up late and declared he wasn’t ready to take it, nor did he even want it. So, being the great parents we are, we broke out the arguments. Your sister’s getting sick of driving you everywhere, as are we. We do lots of stuff for you, it’s time you did something we want. You promised. Blah blah blah.

He dug in, stating he was going to fail. He’d done a bunch of practice tests and he constantly failed them.

So, being the great parents we are, we dug in too. And thankfully, we had some leverage. “You don’t go for that exam today, you don’t go snowboarding tomorrow.”  And, unreasonable as it sounds, we said if he went, but failed, he still couldn’t go.

Why did we go this route? Because we know the Boy and we knew if we just set the boundary at having to write the exam, he’d go in and possibly not try. I doubt that’s the case, as he is competitive, however, it would be an quick and easy path to snowboarding tomorrow.

The Wife threw in one last brilliant stroke. “If you pass on the first try, we’ll pay for the snowboarding tomorrow.”

Then, we walked away and let him consider it. It took a couple of hours, but he decided he really had no choice. Saturday’s snowboarding session was all set up with a few friends already. If he didn’t write the test, or failed it, he’d have to tell them all he couldn’t go.

But if he passed it, not only could he go, but he could also state he was the first amongst his friends to get his license.

So, he showered and, with us wishing him good luck, his sister took him off to the Ministry of Transportation testing facilities. Honestly, I think she was happy to just be able to go and not have to be tested herself.

A while later, I heard the car doors slam and I dragged myself from my sick bed to see how he’d made out.

“So?” I said.

“I failed,” the Boy said. “I’ll have to go back on Monday.”

“How bad did you do?” I said, knowing anything more than four errors killed you.

“Seven wrong.”

I turned to head back up the stairs and I heard the giggling and I knew.

He’d passed it.

And he got it on the first try.

That’s one small step forward for him, even if we had to do the initial shove.

By 73.santi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By 73.santi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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