My oldest child, WanSon, has always been the typical first-born. He has always put enormous pressure on himself to achieve in school, sports and virtually any project he attempts. He is a leader, not a follower and he has always taken responsibility seriously, even as a young boy. He has a tendency to become frustrated when something doesn't go perfectly and expects others to be as mature and responsible as him. WanSon has had a job since his 14th summer, working throughout his high school years part-time. Some summers he worked full-time while still in high school. He missed many extracurricular dances and gatherings since his job required him to work primarily on Friday and Saturday nights. He managed to still have a social life despite his schedule and continued to bond with the large group of friends he met throughout his teenage years. As an older teen, he spent money more on eating out than anything, but still managed to save most of the money he earned during the summer. On occasion, he would want to make a major purchase like a stereo or camera. He was (and still is) a bargain hunter since he worked hard for his pay and wanted to spend as little as he needed to get what he wanted. He had always appreciated his possessions and even more so now that he was spending his own money to acquire them.
With all of that said, WanSon has an issue with people not respecting other people or their property. Who does? Of course we all would be angry or hurt if we were disrespected in any way. WanSon seems to get unusually upset when he feels he's been insulted or slighted. I have taught my children to stand up for themselves and not allow anyone to take advantage of them, but WanSon's reactions to indignities worry me.
His account of a recent incident is an example of what I'm talking about. He told me about some neighborhood trouble-makers taking and smashing pumpkins from his and neighbors' porches. I agree that behavior like that is inexcusable. Destroying someone's property is a crime really. Sure, they're just pumpkins, but still. Anyway, WanSon says to me, "If I catch the kids that did it, I'm going to take a baseball bat to their heads." Geesh. WanSon. Maybe you could yell at them or call their parents. Or even the cops. A baseball bat? He's never been a violent kid and I've heard this kind of threat before (well, not this violent.) And I know he would never carry it out. But I'm concerned by just hearing those words. Of course I encouraged him not to assault anyone with a weapon and reminded him that he would be arrested if he even threatened a kid with a bat. But I can understand his frustration. Here is a young man who has worked hard to get what he has. He grew up appreciating how hard his mom had to work to support him and his siblings. He knows what it means to earn respect and he knows the value of a dollar. It's not surprising that he's angered by a couple of bored privileged brats that have no respect for other people and their property.
So, they grow up, they move out and they still cause us grief. I will recall this conversation over and over in my head and worry about him. Even though it won't change a damn thing, I'll still fret. That is one of the reasons we Moms have so much stress to deal with. Because, after it's all said and done, we inevitably blame ourselves for the shortcomings of our kids.