Tuesday, September 9, 2014

it is lord of the flies over here



There has been a streak of orneriness running through the boys lately.
They have taken to teasing and punching...which I am assuming directly correlates
with the surge of testosterone in the 13 year old's and the 11 year old's rapidly growing bodies.
The 8 year old has learned, for the sake of survival, to hit fast and run.
He has also found that if he repeats everything that his older brothers say
in a nasally taunting voice, he can almost get their heads to explode without having to touch them.
It's not pretty over here.
Hearing one of them say, "I don't like you" or punch their brother in the back of the head,
makes my head explode and leads me to ask my children the life affirming question,
"What is wrong with you?"
It is a question that invites the answer that something is definitely wrong with them and hints
that some inherent mean gene has been unleashed in their physiology lately.
We know that the children will at some point need therapy
because their father's response to their violence is not much better.
When one of them is crying or hurt he responds by saying,
"Shake it off."
Clearly, we are doing some gold medal parenting over here.
But I asked Will the question the other day,
"Why in the world are you boys so mean to each other?"
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Because we are brothers."
He looked at me with very solemn blue eyes and said,
"Mom, weren't you ever mean to your brother and sisters?"
To which I answered, "We are talking about you....not me, buddy."
Because when he asked me that my own Lord of the Flies childhood flashed before my eyes.
I didn't want to tell him that I couldn't actually recall a time that
me and my siblings were nice to each other.
I mostly recall the time that I scraped my sister's face with a Mickey Mouse nightlight
and sat on my brother tickling him until he screamed and cried.
And then there was the time that my sister threw a rake at me and broke the garage
window and my brother kidney punched me so hard that it knocked the wind out of me.
There is that.
So I am guessing that the inherent mean gene comes from my gene pool.
With an additional kick from their father who used to chase his sister
around the house with a knife when they were home alone after school.
You might want to shoot up some prayers in our direction right now while you are reading.
But lately I have seen a hint of future things to come.
The other day when the 13 year was upset about not getting to stay home by himself,
the 8 year old pressed a dollar into his hand and said,
"This is so you can buy a treat when you get to the store."
And the 13 year old has invited his brothers to sleep in his room every night since school
started, so they can talk and laugh together before they go to sleep.
I am hoping as the years roll by, that the violent gene will recede and in its place will be a
solid foundation of friendship.
A bedrock that these boys can lean on when life gets hard and grown up.
It is what I have found with my brother and sisters.
I just had lunch with my sister yesterday. We like each other after all these years.
Even though she tormented me with a dead rat
and I stabbed her in the head with a pencil decades ago.
Maybe if I give it twenty years, there is hope for my boys after all.

1 comment:

Chris Sommer said...

this cracked me up. I was encouraged to hear I wasn't the only one that chased their sibling around with a knife. also, that there is hope for my children.