Every Wednesday, Daniel and Tracy T. meet for lunch. They usually have another child with them but this Wednesday, that child was absent. Half way through their lunch Tracy received a call from home.
“Oh! That is not good!” she said as she took the call. The call was from her husband. The local school district had called but not left a message. She and her husband agreed he would call them back and find out what the call was about.
“What is wrong?” Daniel asked. Tracy explained that they had been having a hard time with her 16-year-old son lately. When the school called and neither she nor her husband knew why, it made them nervous that something was wrong.
Daniel sat straight up. His back stiffened in resolve. His eyes got bright and earnest.
“What you need to do is to have a long talk, I mean a looong talk him! Have you talked with him?”
“Yes we have talked almost every day for about an hour.”
“Then you need to talk for, like three hours!” Daniel’s throat tightened up and his eyes became a little red rimmed and teary. “And you need to tell him that he has to have respect for himself and others. He needs to respect you as his mother and he needs to respect his father. He needs to show this in his actions. I had a long talk with Scott and he said that you have to treat people with respect. If you don’t you can end up going to Juvenile Hall!”
Tracy’s heart began to melt.
Daniel tapped his finger on the table to emphasize his point as he said, “If the talking doesn’t work, then you need to take away his privileges because you only get privileges when you are responsible. Like all of them. TV, all electronic devices. And not just for a day but for like six or seven months!! My mom is very good at teaching me to have respect and she is even better with Scott.”
I began to laugh as Tracy told me about this. Seeing the lessons from Daniel’s perspective is wonderful and comical at the same time. It seems so much of the time when trying to communicate a lesson to Daniel, I am left wondering what got through. My weakness is I talk too much. Did my message get lost in the chatter?
Daniel is definitely my son. He wants to help those around him. I hope that taking the lessons he has learned and passing them on inspires him to keep trying and working to fulfill his potential.