What to do with this #2 son? We felt bad that his older brother had had some many ‘enriching’ experiences at his age…so we thought we should let him try out a few activities outside the home to even the playing field a little.
First, it was gym. He’d been going to the gym and watching his brother for several months when I began asking him if he’d like to try a gym class. He protested that it was too hard and he couldn’t do the things that his big brother could do. We were thinking he just lacked confidence, so we talked to him and finally persuaded him, after weeks of urging, to take a gym class for his age group. For the first month or so, he was thrilled. He got to wear his own shirt with the gym logo, go to his own class, be with one of his homeschool buddies and do lots of running and jumping. Somewhere along the way, things went wrong. His buddy switched to another class, new people joined the class, and the class got bigger. And suddenly, #2 son wasn’t so happy to have a class of his own anymore. He began complaining, not wanting to go to gym class and acting up in class. So…we talked about it, we analyzed, we thought of many possible reasons why things weren’t going well, we tried moving him to another class with his buddy, but there was no change. “It’s just not his thing,” we concluded. After all, he’s only 4…why force him to do this if he really gets nothing out of it.
Art class was our next attempt. Teacher A was a nice enough lady, but certainly more a old school teacher type than a creative free and easy type. “He just likes to do his own thing!” she exclaimed after struggling to get him through a lesson one day. She didn’t exactly mean that as a compliment. He enjoys art-y things in general–drawing, painting, doodling, etc.–so I *thought* this would be his thing…but after a few lessons we decided it wasn’t working so well either. It had been convenient for me as he had the art lesson just next door to where his brother had a weekly Chinese class…then the Chinese class ended, I was expecting and minimizing outings, and eventually that little Art studio closed.
In July last year, it was Grandmother to the rescue! She had the time to give him the attention and the walks to the park that he needed. He would be so happy and refreshed after coming back from his walks with Grandmother and was always eager to tell us what he’d seen or show us what he’d collected.
At first I felt badly that I hadn’t given him that individual time that he needed, but I decided not to dwell on that and take this as a learning point. This son is an introvert. He does not like crowds. He does not like to be in a rush. He is in his element in a 1 to 1 environment where he can go at his own pace. He doesn’t dislike people but he needs a break–a class of his own. Now it is up to me and his dad to make those special times happen–even if it is a simple prayer whispered together at bedtime or running an errand with Daddy. Lord, help us to bring up this child in the way he should go.