Loose That Child and Let Him Go!
edited: Saturday, November 09, 2002
By T.A. KING Anderson
Posted: Saturday, November 09, 2002
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What do we do when our children become a disappointment.
As I sat at my computer, hard at work, I got a mental block. A blockage of the noggin compassed me like a dark thundering cloud over my head. "Which way should this character go? Should the character turn left or should he go right? Should he kiss the girl and walk away, or should they have hot, sweaty, nasty, triflin sex all night?" I thought to myself, "Stuck like a rat in a trap, I have come to a halt."
Then a light bulb came on in my head and a sweet, smooth talking voice said, "Why don't you play with your son?"
I then responded saying "Lord I didn't know that you were that close to me. Hey Lord, while you're here can you give me some tips on this next book?"
"No play with your son!" he said again, but this time I noticed that G-d's voice sounded a lot different then what I expected it to, this time it was younger and less aggressive, a passive voice that was close and familiar.
So I asked the Lord, "Why is it that your voice has changed from the last time you and I talked?"
"Daddy you are so funny, you know that your not talking to no Lord!"
I turned around and lo and behold there was my son standing there with his keyboard that I brought him. Turns out, he snuck down into my office to see what I was doing.
"Gave up playing with the kids hun son?" I asked, still looking at my computer screen.
"Daddy I just wanted to see if you would play with me. I would like to play the keyboard and then play golf in the big field," he said looking so precious but with boyish charm.
"Son, I would be glad to play with you! Just let me see if I can make this character do the right thing," I said on the brink of an idea.
I saved my work and grabbed my keyboard as he grabbed his and we began to play. My son and me jammed. We played and tickled those ivories like no one could. We made a lot of noise, but it was joyful.
My son is into all types of music, but gospel is his favorite and playing with him took me back to my wedding day when he took the mic and sang an A, B, and C selection. I noticed that the talent that he has and encouraged him to continue. I also found out how well he could hold a note, tap with the beat and methodically play the tune he was singing on the keyboard.
After playing the keyboard, we went out to the big field outside of our house to play golf. I noticed that he had a swing that was slightly undeveloped and that he also got angry when he couldn't do something as well as he thought he should. I continued to try to help him to develop his swing, I wanted to be like Tiger Woods' daddy and give my son the opportunity to play a great game and make a great paycheck. After that, we tried baseball and I noticed the same anger and that his ability to time his swing was the same as his golf swing. Then I tried basketball, but he barely wanted to touch the ball. Instantly I got discouraged and thought, "This boy is hopeless, but I need to develop his skills and make him understand the fine points of sports."
I, myself, am a superb athlete, even at my old age, and when I was younger I was dynamite, but the thought of my son not being able to patiently learn the sports that were important to me frustrated me. His willingness to give up and quit bothered me. No man ever thinks that his son would be the one that calls it quits when it comes to sports, but we all dream of our sons being the next Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, need I go on. . .
Even though I was disappointed and discouraged about my son's willingness to quit, I noticed that something else in him. When it came down to painting, crafts and drawing he is a wiz, even when it comes to knowing different colors. His trees looked like trees, and his house looked like a house. My little four year old paid great attention to detail, to the rugged marks in the bark of the tree trunk and the grass coming from the crack in the sidewalk.
Then it was time for me to cook dinner. YES I cook! Thomas begged to help and he was a little anxious to use the knife, which he will not get to use until he has his own household. After he saw that the knife was just a fantasy in his life at this point he offered to make the Kool Aid, grape and red mixed if you were wondering. He put the right amount of sugar in the mixture, tasting it like a little chef. Moments later he became very inquisitive about how to cook the chicken, he even insisted on adding more of my secret spice. Don't worry, I didn't let him cook, he's only four but he's always in the kitched buzzing around like an annoying little fruit fly. I hollered at him a couple of times, yes I know that I shouldn't have, but I later realized that my boy could be the next renaissance man. You know those men who philosophized and painted and sculpted masterpieces at tall as you and I.
I realized that because of my busy schedule I didn't know my son as well as I should, neither did I notice that the things that he likes are the things that he hangs in there with, putting effort and love into what he does. The things I pressured him into doing were just not his bag!
See my friends, pressure is like that! It causes teens to smoke and have sex. It causes people to steal and use and sell drugs, amongst other crimes. Furthermore, if it bears a heavy weight on us as adults, how much more will it be on a child?
The second thing I realized is that my child might not be the athletic type. I so much wanted my son to be the next rookie sensation, the next hot thing in the news, but I realized that we should all spend time with our children, observing them quietly, creating and environment for them to be themselves and become whom they will become while finding out what he/she is doing and/or likes to do, then some how encourage them and make it fun.
Since I am a Television Production and Digital Media student, which requires me to create and direct videos, short films, and shows and animate characters, he has taken a liking to that as well. One day he came down stairs after playing in his room by himself, he told my wife that he was making a movie (how sweet!). That made me think that maybe if I just say nothing and allow him to mimic what I do, then maybe he will accept things better.
In closing my friend, lets not pressure our children into what we think they should be in the future, but instead let us encourage them to be our future while cultivating their gifts and encouraging them to be the best at whatever it is that they decide to do.
-- Harold Antoine Anderson