This afternoon I had a wonderful long chat with my best friend from high school, Doctor RCK. He calls me when he is on long drives from his university to another city about 90 miles away where he has to meet with people once in a while. It used to be every Tuesday afternoon, and I'd get the call at my desk and it would be a wonderful way to spend time while working, chatting with my good buddy about life, the universe and everything.
Those calls are less frequent these days because this semester he doesn't need to drive as much, but today he found himself on the road and gave me a call. We talked about the recent elections, about the "new normal" about taxes, tax rates (I believe in a flat tax for everyone, he believes in gradual percentage increases as salaries get larger so we hashed that out for a while). We talked about my being unemployed and getting shafted in interviews and the search process.
We then talked about the kids, how Jess is doing at school and how Geoff is handling middle school. Rob has always been so supportive in the Geoff process and his advice over the last 13 years has been very exceedingly helpful. He will temper his opinions or advice with "I don't have kids so what do I know," but his education and experience are both very kid-centric so he knows a lot more than he'll give himself credit for at times.
I told him about how Geoff is looking at an agricultural high school and that his focus at this year on his academics has shot right up because he has to work to get accepted to this school. Rob was pleased to hear this, and we talked about what a difference maturity makes, especially when there is a goal that the kid has picked. I agreed fully with that, because this is HIS goal and not OURS for him. I told him about the "Apple Cinnamon Waffles" negotiation I had with Geoff a few years ago that if he got through a week at school without getting in trouble, I'd give him something HE wanted. He picked Apple Cinnamon Waffles. And he made it happen by doing everything he needed to do.
Rob told me that he fully believes that everything going right with Geoff lately is because he has learned and WE have learned how to work together. That this is the best home for Geoff... and God puts kids in the homes they are supposed to be in.
Basically a kid is born, or a kid is adopted into a family. What happens next is that the parents or parent need(s) to learn how to do it right with this particular kid. The kid doesn't just know. And the parents don't know. They have to work together as a team. But it is mostly on the parent to figure it all out.
Dr. RCK said, "It's like God says 'I'm trying to teach you something here, are you listening? Do you get it?'" The lesson is that as much of a responsibility for the kid to learn and grow up correctly, it's up to the parent(s) to learn similar lessons and do things right. And not fail at it.
I thought about this long and hard... how this is so true, especially when I look at parents that learn to do things right for their kids. And how families fail because the parents can't learn how to do anything right and the kids end up lost, broken...
This kind of reminded me of when Jessica was a few hours old and I was in the hospital trying to nurse her. It was an epic failure. She was screaming, I was crying and a mess, and a male nurse was sitting with me trying to teach me how to get her to latch on and nurse. He told me "Just remember, she's new to this too. She's never done it and you've never done it so you'll have to learn together."
For someone who doesn't have kids, Rob does know what to tell people and what is true for kids. He has provided me with great guidance and I'm forever glad that he is in my life to help advise me.