Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crime and Consequences

**Originally I intended to write a post about parenting in general. I finished the intro-story part and then realized that I really don't have time right now. Normally I would save and write the post I really wanted to write later. Since I post so little these days, I changed my mind. Here's the story.***

It is final exam week here. I have a pile of grading and administrative work, but a relaxed schedule. Andrew is home for his winter break and he wants to drive me to work every day so that he can have my vehicle. He will get up at whatever time I want, having a vehicle is important, but he isn't normally a very early riser. All this means that when my alarm went off at 6am it seemed only sensible to turn it off and go back to sleep.

I got up around 8:30. I puttered, made tea, and mentioned to Andrew that the boys had left the bathroom fan on downstairs. When the fan suddenly went off I went to the computer to check if there were school closings. Andrew wondered why I didn't just ask. I told him that it would ruin my omnipotent reputation. There were no school closings so when Gary appeared just before 9am I asked him what was going on. He said, "My alarm didn't go off."

He sleeps through his alarm a couple of times a semester. Usually I am up and I wake him, though often not in time for him to catch the right bus. I'm not doing that on purpose, it is just that he often doesn't appear except to run out the door to the bus stop. By the time I know he is not up, he's probably missed the bus.

Anyway, this morning I just took another sip of my tea while Andrew said, "Can you get another bus now?" Gary said yes, that one would be there in a few minutes, and he took off.

And I realized I wasn't even annoyed with him.

Years ago I would have got angry. I would have felt at least the need to lecture him, perhaps to "impose consequences" (a phrase I hate since it really means "punishment" and if that is what we are doing we should be honest about it). Of course, if the other boys had done that it would be part of a pattern, not something that happened a few times a year. I know that what I did was the best response for Gary.

Still, I found myself wondering if I have evolved into the Zen parent I always wanted to be? Have I perfected the attitude promoted in my favorite parenting books?

Or have they just worn me down?

This is probably a bad time to ponder that question too much, you are invited to discuss it in the comments though. Not necessarily me in particular, but parenting approaches in general.

Rambling now.

1 comment:

  1. I can't decide if I've mellowed or just gotten old. I'm far more relaxed with my youngest (age 14) than I was with my oldest (now age 24.) I'm a better parent, that's for sure.


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