Gary is bored. He says he needs a project. I said, "okay." I'm really supportive like that. He still talks about how he is so much better than all the fighters at the gym. I'm getting really good at letting that flow right over me.
He can be really frustrating. In one conversation he can tell me how he is really good at school and wants to go to college. He loves reading. He has read a whole lot more than almost anyone else his age (true) and he is a good writer (also basically true), so he should do okay in English in high school. He just has trouble making himself do it. That's why he got a D in English this year, he just didn't want to do what they wanted him to do. And that one teacher, the one I know really likes him, he's studid. "He keeps trying to say all these things to me to get me to work, but he doesn't know that I know that is what he is doing. I'm too smart for that. I see right through him."
"Right through his too obvious efforts to motivate you to care about your future?"
"Yeah" he says grinning at me, knowing I've got him, "You know better. You don't do that. You know you can't trick me into doing stuff I don't want to do."
"Yes. I have accepted that you are the only one who can make you care about your future and do your work." He does not hear the sadness and resignation in my voice.
"So why doesn't he?"
"Because he cares deeply about you and your success matters to him."
Gary shakes his head at the stupidity of the adults around him. Roland and I are the only adults he knows that get it. We know that it is a waste of energy trying to keep him from self-destruction. "I don't know what I am going to major in in college though. Are you sure you need a master's degree to be a physical therapist?"
I give him the long, blank stare.
"You have to start doing the work in high school if you want to go to college."
"Yeah, I know. I can do it. I just don't want to do it."
I feel badly that all of you mostly just hear about this part of his personality. You don't see the rest. He really is a pretty easy guy to live with.
One on hand I really believe we are taking the right approach with Gary. I think this is what he needs. On the other hand I'm not certain that the reason I am taking this approach is that I am wise and experienced. I am afraid that the reason is that I have been worn down.