Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My oldest...

This one here, my oldest, has been thirteen for a few months now. The transformation has been truly remarkable. He got taller, built muscle, and his voice deepened in about a week! He also developed this pesky desire to push things and exert his strength. But interestingly enough, a couple of talks later and he got it all under control, well, as much as any of us in the house do anyway.

I told him that I understand he feels like an adult and wants to be treated as such. But I told adults treat each other a particular way, and he needed to focus on attitude and TONE. I pointed out that when I speak too harshly to his dad, or vice versa, it is usually because we are tired and cranky, but we immediately try to acknowledge that the tone was not intended, and then (crazy thought, I know) we APOLOGIZE. It's been pretty easy to call him on that and have him see it since. Sometimes he has even apologized for a tone I didn't think was all that bad, but that he noticed wasn't intended toward me and wanted to fix. Between that and a couple of lectures about the Lord expecting us to be able to control our tempers, things have been wonderful this summer.

I'm a bit worried about him going back to school. He has a great class, the graduating class size has fluctuated between 45 and 50 kids, and most of them get good grades and are generally nice. But so many parents don't think teenagers can have control of themselves, and I hear terrible stories about drug use in the high school (he'll be in 8th this year, it's coming right up) I worry about his being influenced by that. I don't think he will succumb to peer pressure necessarily, but I wonder if he will see his parents in that light that his friends will, and think we need to lighten up.

I tell him regularly he is going places, and I firmly believe it. I believe he will travel on his mission (our young men tend to serve a 2 year proselyting mission once they turn 19), and that he can get the type of education that will prepare him for a career, one that I would love to see take root in Maine, this place I love, but realize it might not. I try to tell him, again and again, that what happens in school socially may seem overwhelming at times, but this is only the beginning, and soon he will have more choices and control over what he experiences, that the grades are what will take him far, not the people.

He makes a great big brother, and I can see someday he'll be a good dad. He plays with his brothers, and the other day he came in all excited after shooting hoops with Michael. He told me about teaching Michael how to steal the ball from him, "I said don't watch the basketball, watch my belly button. I told him I can fake him out moving the ball around, but I'm not going anywhere without my belly button!" And Dustin was so excited when his little brother did it like he showed him and got the ball!

He's a hard worker. He went on a 3 day scout hike/canoe trip, and received the greatest compliment from a man who has known his dad for decades... "He sure is a Jones." Apparently, he was always looking for something productive to do, always willing to do just what you ask, and helping others with things they needed, not complaining. At home I try to watch myself, I know he will do just about any task I ask him to, whether it's swapping the laundry, making a sandwich for a brother, getting something from the car, or even reading Zachary a story to get him off my back. I really try to watch and be sure I don't ask him to do too much, he is still a kid after all, but especially with being due to have a baby in six weeks it has been a HUGE blessing this summer, and something I have missed on the days he's been gone!!

His reward for this help? No, I can't afford to give him an allowance. His reward is he gets to hang out with the grownups, and do things like Facebook and drive tractor in the hay field, staying up late playing Settlers or Clue with the adults. His uncle even gave him a lesson on driving his pickup truck in the hay field the other day. That's all it takes, he works doing things like the grownups do, and gets treated like a grown up.

Funny thing about it is, us grownups are REALLY enjoying his company! So while it is a reward for him, it's been fun for us too!

1 comment:

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Oh, I PRAY that this is where we are in 3 years... TONE is a big issue over here.