“You weren’t excused. Back in your seat. Finish your dinner!” This wasn’t an isolated incident.
“But, mom, in Italy, kids get up when they are finished. They go play and then they come back and eat more if they get hungry. It’s Italy Day, Mom!”
It was VBS week. Theme: Around the World. The day’s focus was Europe and apparently the big takeaway was mealtime independence of Italian bambinos.
#childlawyer looked at me, eyebrows raised, head tilted forward and down in that “you have to admit, I got you good” sort of way.
I shook my head with a wry smile, “well, when in Rome…”and excused him from the table, satisfied with my own wit, even if it was lost on him.
In his seven years of childing, Jack has earned his #childlawyer title. The kid has skills that put any real attorney to shame. He works the angles and perseveres to the end, always looking for opportunities to beat the system and come out on top.
I find his methods sound and his motivations (mostly) admirable . I can see #childlawyer someday becoming #adultlawyer, fighting for justice the way I believe his heart was made to do. But, for now, his clients are himself, his brother and an occasional classmate.
He touches on most types of law:
- bankruptcy law (when the allowance kitty seems dry),
- human rights law (“It’s not fair” is universal and timeless),
- criminal defense law (often trying to shave minutes off his brother’s timeout),
- employment law (He has talked himself into jobs everywhere he’s been),
- family law (inserting himself into mom and dad’s spats),
- real estate law (“Mine” is a subject he mastered in his early years),
- personal injury law (He once overheard me admit I forgot to sunscreen the kids on a specific day a week previous. He spent the next three days loudly nursing pain on his leg, insisting it must have been a persisting sunburn from said historical day of oversight),
- environment law (recycling my children’s artwork seems to not qualify as saving the environment…)
And the list goes on. There is not a corner of law to which he will not go.
I know I’m not alone in parenting a #childlawyer. It seems this generation came out with selfie-sticks, hashtags and law degrees.
The kid won two awards at school this year. Persistence and Curiosity.
Fine qualities of a #childlawyer.
Drive-mom-nuts qualities of a #childlawyer.
Isn’t that how it is? Our weaknesses are strengths taken to an extreme. Or strengths left unchecked. Out of context, out of accountability, out of character, out of bounds.
It’s tricky raising my #childlawyer. I want to celebrate his curiosity, his persistence, his creativity, his confidence, his sense of justice, his quest for truth, his memory, his observation, his understanding, his humor. But, I also want to develop his tact, his respectfulness, his wisdom, his perspective, his fact-checking. And sometimes, I just need to be able to say “because I said so” and not be flooded with flashbacks to my childhood (complete with slap bracelets, tight rolls and crimpers), mom guilt and objections from the #childlawyer.
It’s not a simple task with a simple formula. The kid needs both and it’ll take me the rest of his childhood to even begin to figure it out.
I forget to see my own strengths and weaknesses as in tandem with each other. But, they are cut from the same cloth .
I have the benefit of having taken a strengths assessment. When I consider what each of my top strengths look like when taken to an extreme, the mirror doesn’t move one bit. It’s me to a T.
My strength of “achiever” allows me to get a lot done, to be what some call “high capacity,” and to finish the job. But, it also means I struggle to pause, to stop, to relax. [I once got anxious about if we would ever watch all the shows on our DVR. To me, they were tasks to check off, not dumb shows to veg out with. #lifefail]
My strength of “harmony” gives me an eye toward how others are feeling and where connections might need repair. It takes me to a place of mediating and caring and finding common ground. But, it also slides me into people pleasing, into owning others emotions and into taking responsibility for what isn’t mine. I find myself easily moved when I should be standing firmly.
My strength of “developer” challenges me to notice the small steps forward that people take and to push them (and myself) to keep improving. But, it also means I encourage people in areas they aren’t meant to keep going. I see potential where there isn’t and won’t be.
My strength of “woo” puts me in positions to relate to people and build partnerships. But, it also means I can move from person to person, leaving bridges of disconnection. Having significant relationships, but inability to sustain them all.
My strength of “communication” helps me express ideas, thoughts and stories. But, it also means I have many words and can be like a toy without an off button.
All strengths need to be kept in check. Alongside other strengths, with wisdom, in decisions of character and within community.
There are seasons and times to use a strength full-throttle. And there are times to back off, adjust, tweak or wait.
For me. And for my #childlawyer.
In retrospect, I probably should have held him in oltraggio alla corte (contempt of court) and motioned for a recesso.