I remember telling my boys over and over again they had to shower at least once a day and brush their teeth at least twice a day. And I had to repeat that every day.
Every morning: “Did you brush your teeth?” Every evening: “Did you shower?” Then one day, first with the oldest and then the youngest, I noticed every time I’d ask those questions the answer was, “Yes, Mother.” After a while I didn’t even have to ask. By George, they finally got it.
I guess they figured out that if they were ever going to even think about talking to a girl without repulsing her, they had better not reek or have stinky breath or cheesy-looking teeth.
I’ve realized over the years that it’s a development thing. No matter how much you tell the kids to do this, that or the other thing and explain to them why, they won’t be doing it until they are developmentally ready to.
Not to be preachy but: “For everything there is a season …” right?
It’s been hard-core, high school graduation, college and scholarship season in my house now since September.
That means I’ve been telling my youngest, daily: You really need to start writing essays so we can put these college packets together. We don’t want to miss any deadlines. You need to go over every college application detail to make sure you don’t forget a step.
I walk through the door at home, and the first thing out of my mouth is, “How are you, son? How was school? Did you talk to teachers about doing references? Did you make an appointment with your counselor?” His answers every day: “Fine, fine, no and not yet.”
You seeing a pattern here? And he’s 18, so I’m thinking that developmental thing couldn’t possibly apply. Well, then I heard that the frontal lobe isn’t developed until they’re like 25, which is why they can’t rent a car.
Then the other day, I came home: Same routine, different responses.
References, check. Counselor, check. He’d even completed several application packets, was working on other essays and was pressuring me to put together our income and financial data so we’ll have it ready come federal grant application season in the spring.
I have no idea why it took so long for it to sink in or what clicked to turn his cranial light on. But I know this: No matter how frustrated I get, the next time I hear myself repeating the same instructions, information or advice to the boy, I’m not giving up. He will get it eventually.