Thursday, July 26, 2007

Discerning Dad's Will

Once upon a time there was a teenager who needed to find his first job. He was just past sixteen, and had struck a deal with parents that involved some cash on his part in exchange for driving privileges. But he, being sixteen, didn't know the first thing about getting job.

And both his mom and dad realized this. So late one night in their bed, mom asked dad, "Are you going to give Richie any help with finding a job?"

Dad was prepared for this. "Yes I am. I think this is a great learning opportunity for him. I'd like to help him in a way that will teach him how to make wise decisions on his own. He'll need to learn how to do that soon, you know."

Mom pulled closer to her husband and rested her head on his chest with a deep "Mmmmm".

"Here's what I have in mind", dad said, encouraged by her touch. "I really want him to work at Agway loading feed. Denny needs some help down there, and Richie would really enjoy it. So that's what he needs to do. If he picks something else, I'm going to be angry with him, take away the driving privileges that we agreed upon, and probably not speak to him until he quits. This is still my house, and although he is sixteen, he's got to obey my rules.

"But here's what I want you to do. If he comes to ask your opinion about it, don't tell him anything. He'll be wondering if it's a good idea to just pick something he likes: let him wonder. He'll probably be thinking that he could cause himself some real problems by picking the wrong place to work: let him think that. He'll be sure that we have a strong opinion about this (which we do), and he'll want to know it. Don't give in: let him wonder and worry and try to figure it out on his own. We need to make this as hard for him to figure out as we can. If he seems like he's going to screw it up and pick something else, don't warn him in anyway. We'll let him know that he chose wrong after the fact, believe you me.

"I really think this can be a great opportunity to let him try and make decisions on his own, a wise lesson he'll carry with him for a long time."

That night, Richie thought for a long time about his decision, and decided the best thing to do would be to ask his dad's opinion over breakfast. But he forgot altogether about asking when he came down early and found his dad still sleeping on the sofa.

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