Can there be defining moment for a 7 year old?


We live in a neighborhood with many children, but for a variety of reasons they haven’t much played casually outside together… until now.  The upside of this is that inside is easier for Max –  playing outside is hard for him.  It is frustrating and stressful when it is supposed to be fun and carefree.

A new neighbor has appeared and with them … boys… young boys, between Sophie’s age and Max’s and their friends. Outside boys, fun boys, nice boys, regular boys.  They come over to our yard and bring boyhood with them.  For Sophie, this is intriguing and new and for Max  it is ridiculously attractive and simultaneously horrific.  He cannot keep up with them.  They are kind and do their best to include him, but young boy legs move very very very fast.  Max usually lasts 10 minutes and then there are tears…. Friday after school… after the initial 10 minutes, this is what could be overheard in our living room…

“Max, you go outside right now, get in your walker and play with those kids.”

“They don’t want to play with me, they are being mean,”

“They are not being mean… you have to figure this out.  You are just frustrated.”

“I don’t want to go, I am staying here.”

“Look,  I know it stinks, playing outside will never be easy, and you will always have to work at it, but you get in your walker, and you go over there and you play… Right Now.  This is YOUR DEFINING MOMENT… you make a choice right now and you decide who Max Rubin is – Who is Max Rubin?”

“Max is super awesome.”

“Yes, he is the most awesome and YOU must choose right now whether you are going to play or whether you are going sit here and be miserable.”

“Which one will it be?”

“OK, I will go in the backyard and I will play by myself for a while.  I will have fun and then they can all come to the backyard later.”

I let him go by himself.  I stayed away and he got himself on the swing, swung alone peacefully for a while and soon enough all the kids came around back.

He found his solution.

I reflected on the seriousness of my words and felt a bit dramatic.   Nevertheless, I determined that while it was dialogue directly from an after-school special,  it really was a defining moment for both of us.  There was no way I was going to let him choose to be lonely.  I was not going to choose to let him stay in – not this time.  Other times yes,  but not this time.  I will not let him give up and I will never give up his happiness.

I think the moment that was truly the defining one was when Max, at 7, heard what I was saying, figured out a way to make it ok for himself, and chose his own path.

If this is what he does with defining moments… I think the future may be very bright.

4 Responses so far.

  1. martha mack says:

    Sheri……as always, when you write something I read it. Invariably it is something that touches and inspires me. I think Hayley and I had our “defining moment” last night and I didn’t even realize it until just now.
    This week was a rough one for the Mack family, we lost Kenny’s dad, and we all made the pilgramage down to Florida for the funeral/shiva. We came home and we were looking at two quiet days of weekend before everyone went back to their normal routine. Out of the blue, Hayley’s fear of spiders (which has always existed but was never a cause of too much drama) reared its ugly head over the weekend causing both Hayley and I to lose two night’s sleep in a row. I tried everything from comfort, to distraction, to eventually tough love….and nothing worked. I finally stood up at 2am last night and said “you cannot let the spider win, you deserve to sleep comfortably in your own bed. Make up your mind and tell me what it’s going to be!” She thought for a minute and chose to not give in to the spider, within five minutes she was sound asleep. Nothing like the competitive spirit to lift you up.
    Keep writing……….it helps.

    • wearingcostumes says:

      I am so proud of both you and Hayley. I know you had a hard week, but you still didn’t give up the fight. It seems like we have to keep our eyes open to see the moments where we actually do have more of a choice than we often realize. I am so sorry for Ken. Sending big hugs to all of you and thanks a million for reading!

  2. Susie Mallett says:

    I found your blog very recently because of you mentioning conductive education. Slowly I am reading backwards and today I landed here. As I read about what you said to Max and how you motivated him to make his decision about how to play with the neighbours I thought that it is no wonder at all that you are with your family in Michigan with Max attending a CE group. I hope it is a very successful experience for you.
    Susie Mallett
    Conductor
    http://www.susie-mallett.org
    http://www.susie-mallett.com
    http://www.susie-mallett-booksandmore.com

    I am enjoying your postings very much

    • wearingcostumes says:

      Hi Susie- so wonderful to hear that you are reading. I would love to learn more from you and hope we can be in touch. Max is doing well after his first week here at the CLC and he is working so hard. Being with the other children is the best part for him and spending time with others like him is really something special.

      Thanks again, Sheri

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