Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Another day begins. Another year. Promises, promises. This is the year that we all finally get those things done that were left hanging on the list from years past. This is what we tell ourselves. Plans are hatched today that will never stand up to the rigors of three hundred and sixty-five more days just like today. "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," sang John Lennon in his ode to his son Sean. These were the words that came to mind as I listened to my own son, making plans for his year.
He sounded wise, when describing himself as "cocky." He resolved to be less so in this coming year. I appreciated this bit of insight, since it wasn't something that had occurred to me, but was most certainly a factor in his academic struggles. Why wouldn't he be confident? He's been told for the bulk of his life just how clever he is, why wouldn't he face any situation believing that? Armed with this bravado, he has faced the periodically arcane challenges of high school. As it turns out, putting up a brave front isn't listed on most teachers' syllabus as a prerequisite.
"I'm going to ask more questions," my son went on. It occurred to me that I couldn't remember him asking a lot of questions, since my job has been primarily to tell him things. Coming from such a very intelligent clan, this has never been a skill that we have emphasized. Much to the contrary: We tend to revel in our own wit and inventions rather than inquire about others.
I waited for more, since this time of year tends to generate many more assurances and declarations. That was it. Less cocky. Ask more questions. I was impressed with the economy with which he was able to state his goals. I resolve to support him in these efforts, and to be more like my son.

No comments: