The gray sky and biting wind are typical late November. That's why I told him to bring his gloves. He wasn't sure he wanted to come with me especially when all I said, was, "Get your shoes on we're going out." The only answer I would give him about our destination was, "The outskirts of town."
He wasn't keen on getting out of the car when we arrived at the park but he did and as we started walking his attitude became less grumpy and more talkative.
10 year-old *N* has a strong sense of justice, or better stated, his perceived experience of injustice. He always wants to speak his case, even when he's been told to, "Just stop."
Things were quickly spinning out of control with his mouth and his desire to be right and the disrespect was increasing in direct proportion to my blood pressure. His refusal to accept responsibility, to see another's point of view and respect our authority was spiralling out of control. Something needed to change.
Which is when I decided to take him to the outskirts of town.
"The outskirts of town," is part of a line Binky Barnes says in an Arthur cartoon that the Husband and I joke about. Binky thinks that they will get dropped off at the outskirts of town for losing a game. (He is then disappointed because, "I'll never get to see the outskirts of town." which must, in his imagination be a scary place. ;) )
*N* needed to be out of the situation and since he refuses to go to, or stay in, his room, he wasn't getting that reset, change of scenery, time to cool down, in the traditional way. Our words were falling on deaf ears and since our volume was getting louder, he was very, very listening impaired.
When we started walking the path at the park, I talked about the scenery, the changes and small talk. After a few minutes, I talked to him about what was going on at home. The first time I brought it up, in typical *N* fashion he just kept talking about his own thing but the boy gets a little of that tenacity from me and I rolled the conversation back around and I think I got my point across.
I emphasized our love for him. I told him we wanted to listen to him and hear his side, but that hearing his side didn't mean we would agree with him. I also told him he needed to respect our authority. I think he heard me.
I don't think I could have gotten that far had I tried to keep going around in circles on the stairway landing. He needed to come with me to the outskirts of town, to have a change of scenery and to see that I was willing to listen and walk alongside him even when I wasn't feeling warm and fuzzy.
That's all we all really want, isn't it? To know that we will still have someone walking alongside us when we're on the outskirts of town, when we're not our most lovable.
Thank You God, for walking with me and Thank You, for modeling that for me, for giving me the patience and wisdom to know that is what *N* needed on that cold, gray day.