Great-Grandpa Makes His Point


One of my many faults is that I like to be right. In my need to be right, I canvassed all of the adults I knew of grandparenting age about RJ’s daycare situation. Most of them agreed with me. Little boys act up from time to time, and if he snitched food, although he knew it was wrong, he was probably hungry.

Then I talked to my dad. I hate it when he makes me think.

My father has four children, eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is a font of wisdom, not all of which I am willing to hear. He thought my rant about my grandson was worth calling me, which is not something he, as a Depression Era kid, wastes long distance on often.

“I got your e-mail, ” he said, “and I have some thoughts.”

“Don’t you think it was ridiculous to get that upset about something a three-year-old did?’ I said.

My father coughed. Then he said, “Not really.”

That was hard for me to hear, but I kept listening. The man taught school for thirty-seven years and is at this moment, at almost eighty-one, still teaching. I have to admit that he might know what he is talking about.

“Look,” he said. “RJ is strong-willed.”

This I do know, as does anyone who has ever interacted with the boy.

Dad continued. “At some point in his life, he does have to learn to accept those in authority over him. He might as well start now. And while he might accept what his mom and dad have to say, there are a lot of other people who will be in authority over him. The daycare provider’s holding him accountable is a good place to start.”

There is a rebellious part of me still that hates it when my dad might be right. Especially when he disagrees with me. But I began to think about all the kids at the high school where I work who cannot accept authority. They are busy rebelling because school is dumb. Or worse yet, they complain to their parents who come in to fight authority for them. This year I have heard things like, “My son didn’t steal that piece of office equipment. He just found it and was playing with it,” or “I can’t believe you cut my lab grade just because I pulled the emergency shower. I was only playing.” Complaining doesn’t change the fact that the office equipment obviously did NOT belong to the student or that distractions in a chem lab can lead to injuries.

I don’t want that for RJ. I think my son and his wife have a handle on the situation, but I have to admit that my dad has a point. While I still believe that a little time out might have handled RJ better, the fact is that the boy does know who is in charge of him and there are lots of times when he would rather that HE was the person in charge. Wouldn’t we all?

I love that boy more than I can say, but I would rather he learn that rules are there for a reason NOW instead of in high school. Or never. If a little disagreement at daycare speeds that understanding, well…so be it.


1 Response to “Great-Grandpa Makes His Point”

  1. 1 Ron March 4, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    Yes, RJ does have to submit to the authority of those over him, there is no disagreement with that premise. Our concern is not the reaction (overreaction) of the daycare provider. Our concern is that the daycare provider has said that this has been an issue for months and this is the first we have heard of it.

    The daycare provider's ability to handle RJ has been a concern of ours for a while. We actually started looking for other care a little while ago. RJ should not be singled out. Our soon to be former daycare provider sends us pictures via email on a regular basis, a very nice gesture. Because of the latest happenings I actually counted all of the pictures: 37 of Tony, 8 of RJ.

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