When I was younger, I was never one to back-down or give in to anyone without a logical or valid reasoning. This characteristic of mine had got me into many arguments and troubles with the adults. Adults those days subscribed to the idea that children do not have rights, children are suppose to just follow what the adults say and children have no right to question their wisdom. Unfortunately for them, question them I did.
I am the second child in a sibling of three, so you can imagine I was always the one who gets the shorter end of the stick. I was suppose to give way to my elder brother because he was older and I was suppose to give way to my younger sister because she was younger.
My mom these days like to tell people how stubborn I was when I was young, it's her favorite story to embarrass me. Her favorite line is, "If I tell him not to do something, you can be sure that he would do exactly the thing that I told him not to do!". Then she would proudly say that my son's character is exactly like mine. This actually is not meant to embarrass me, she's pretty proud of my son and she somehow is proud that a part of me is alive in my son. Well of course my son has my character, I'm his dad after all.
I had the following conversation with my grandfather, I went through a phase where I rebelled and questioned the authority of the adults in my live and apparently, my mom asked my grandfather to have a word with me. Let me qualify that I'm not proud that I hurt my grandfather's feeling if I did but on hindsight, it was a funny conversation and it reveal my thought process then. So this was how the conversation went to the best of my recollection(it's a very short conversation):
Grandpa : "Justin, I heard you always fight with your mom. You shouldn't do that. Children must always listen to their parents bah"
Me : "I know Grandpa but she is always not fair to me. She told me to give in to so and so with this logic but when I apply the same logic for my own situation, she said no. It's not fair! It doesn't make sense!"
Grandpa : "Don't argue! Just listen to your mother. Aren't you afraid? If you defy your mother, you will "Ketulahan" (retribution) bah! One day your children will do the same thing to you!"
Me : "So does that mean mom is getting her retribution?"
Grandpa : "What do you mean?"
Me : "Well you said if I don't listen to my mother, my children will do the same thing to me. It stands to reason that my mother must had defied you when she was young, therefore, I am her retribution!"
Grandpa : "No! No! Your mother was an obedient child. She never went against my wishes"
My grandfather ended the conversation there, perhaps knowing that I have checkmated him hehehe..
As to my son, yes, he has a mind of his own and I nurture that. Whenever he did wrong, I reason with him. Whenever he is afraid to do something, I tell him that I will catch him if he falls. When I did him wrong, I apologize to him. There is no shouting, name calling or shaming anyone in my home when someone did something wrong, a home is a sanctuary. I want it to be the first destination my son think of whenever he is in trouble or has a problem. I aim to nurture and not to break the spirit.
I love you Elijah! By the way, I chose that name for you when I was in my late teen. I've been expecting you!