“Ok, I’ll read it first.” After I’ve read it, “Ok, your turn.”
“Just one word, Wil. Just read the first word.”
Eyes quickly averted from page, crossed arms tighten.
“How about we read this with chocolate?”
Slight glance in my direction………..
What happened to the kid, who just a few short days ago, took his entire stack of reading for the week, sat himself at the kitchen table, and went through each book, happily reading through every page, complete with sound effects and full animation. Without an ounce prodding and completely chocolate-bribery free.
Some days, Wil turns the stubborn dial up to full tilt and not a single one of us can get through, while on others, he is the most eager to learn and good-natured kid in the universe. I try to find a rhyme to his reason, and the only thing I have come up with thus far is this: The world moves fast for Wil. Too fast, sometimes, and he just hits a wall. He needs a meditative moment, a “time-out.”
When I recognize this need, I ask him to go sit quietly in his room and come out when he is ready. He’ll begrudgingly stomp into his room, close the door, and quietly take the time he needs (some days it’s 30 seconds, others its 30 minutes). Somewhere behind that door a miracle happens. He will emerge from his room, the same exact kid who walked in full of stubborn will, and energetically burst out proclaiming, “I ready now!”
And, he truly is. It’s an amazing transformation.
The challenge is, we don’t always have 30 minutes for this transformation when Wil requires 30 minutes. But, sometimes, 30 seconds is enough.
Just last week, as we were about to leave for school, Wil decided the hat he was wearing was not the one he wanted to wear anymore. He wanted a different one, and he couldn’t find it. If you know Wil, you know hats are a serious business to him. He always wears a hat and is very particular about which one he is wearing. And, amazingly, he typically remembers where each and every hat he owns is (he has an extensive collection).
Alas, this was not to be a typical morning for Wil’s hat memory. He could not recall where this particular hat he wanted to wear was. We had 3 minutes to find it or he and his sisters would be late for school. The 3 minutes quickly ticked by and the hat he wanted remained elusive. We left the house with a hat he was less than satisfied with.
Hat dilemmas can easily require 30 minutes, and we only had 3 minutes to work with, which now was gone.
Knowing Wil would refuse to exit the car once we reached his school without a hat he was satisfied with, I grabbed his entire crate of hats and set it next to him in the car to peruse while we made the drive to school. Over the duration of the ride to school, he dug through the crate but not a single hat met with his satisfaction. Fortunately, when we arrived at school, he did exit the car with only a little coaxing from me at the circle drop-off, but he planted his little butt on the concrete sidewalk, and firmly crossed his legs and his arms, as I drove away with a full line-up of cars behind me. I watched in my rearview mirror as the teacher who attends the circle drive walk over and stand next to Wil. I quickly pulled over into the parking lot and texted Wil’s paraprofessional and filled her in on the situation. She is no stranger to Wil’s stubborn streaks having been his paraprofessional since 1st grade. She assured me she would be right over to meet Mr. Wil and safely walk him into the school.
Apparently Wil had the meditative moment he needed in that short time sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk that I wasn’t able to give him at home, because his para texted me a few minutes later saying Wil was now inside the school happily high-fiving his friends as he sauntered down the hallway. (I sent up a silent prayer for his amazing paraprofessional, teacher and friends).
While Wil’s stubborn trait can be very trying at times, I always believe there is a life lesson in every experience. The way I see it, the learning experience would be this: We all require meditative moments. Every single one of us. Yes, the world may move faster for Wil than it does for us, but we all have those times when we hit a wall. When we need the world to stop. And, it’s typically not socially acceptable for us to plop our adult butts on the sidewalk.
So, we cope the only ways we know how. We may blame, or rage, or go into a depression, or denial, or turn to drugs, or drink to excess, or eat ourselves into oblivion. The world throws hardballs, moves really fast, and can be downright unfair. It stands to reason we need meditative moments, but its hard to stop. Most of us go to those meditative moments begrudgingly, even when, down deep, we need them the most. I wonder, if, just maybe, when we feel the weight of all of the world on our shoulders, we just stop (that is, if someone doesn’t offer us chocolate first). Excuse ourselves to the bathroom, go off to a different room, sit in our car, step out onto the porch, simply close our eyes and breathe, anywhere and anyway we can shut the world out for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, whatever moment we have to stomp out, shut the door on the world, and plop our butts on the ground cross legged if only in our minds. Allowing all the noise, all the pressures, all the craziness to float away in that moment. It won’t make it go away, but it will allow us to just be. To recharge, renew, and refresh our perspective. To be present in that moment for that moment. And, then, when we are ready, we will open the door and energetically burst out proclaiming, “I READY NOW!”
And, truly, we will be. It’s an amazing transformation.
We may need 30 minutes, 30 days, or 300 years even, to get through some of life’s stuff. But sometimes, 30 seconds is enough.