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3.04.2011

Honest don't come easy

It's interesting how differently each boy responds to the demands of expectations such as manners, lying, and apologies. The two older boys play everyone according to their needs. If they can get away with a lie, they will. Even stick to a bad one. If they didn't respect you, you'll know it.

Not so with Doc. He's a lot younger and hasn't been exposed as much to inconsistent expectations. He hasn't learned the fine art of the phony apology yet so respect and apologies mean something to him. He doesn't want to fake it. He'd rather lose something or take a punishment before he'll say he's sorry if he isn't.

Listening to him and Tio this afternoon was a perfect case in hand. Tio asked him to say "please" when asking for a treat he was fixing. I didn't intervene, just listened from the next room. Doc saw no point in manners but clearly wanted the treat he couldn't make himself. He was reduced to tears rather than say "can I please have one." "Gimme" was the best he was willing to do but it didn't work. Stubbornness and insincerity had him completely boxed in. He finally said the magic words and Tio was happy to share.

I wasn't sure what Tio was getting out of it except to drive the little kid crazy but I agreed that he should be polite. What I got out of it was a great lesson in what was ahead for Doc. It's good that he won't surrender without meaning it, but stubborn is a mean animal all on its own. The challenge will be to create an environment for him to want to be polite, respectful, and honest without second guessing himself or seeing no point.

No small feat.