His TCAPS (standardized testing) scores are through the roof. He doesn’t lack for intelligence. His eyes are fine. But my 11 year old son can stare at something and not see it! No it is better than that. He can kick something and still not find it. This morning he is looking for his tent and he goes in the garage where the tents are stacked. He says, "I found Sarah’s dome tent but I can’t find mine." I look into the garage and from 16 feet away I can see that his tent is directly under Sarah’s tent. I ask him to look again. He kicks his tent as he uses his foot to move Sarah’s. Then he stares down at his tent for a few seconds. Then he looks up at me and declares, "I just don’t know where it is."
This is where television dads have the benefit of a writing staff that has prepared their response. Your first drafts flash through your head almost as quickly as your response comes out of your mouth. Most of the drafts involve words you really don’t want your son to hear. Some are funny but still unspeakable. You try hard to remember the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Dads and resolve yourself to be moderately successful. I chose to tell him "you just kicked your tent" but I couldn’t help but inquire "how did you not see it?" He gave me clue, "I thought it was over there." I think he is predetermining an outcome and convincing himself that is the only possible outcome. As a father I want to steer him on a good path; as a philosopher I have to remember he has to walk his own path; as a stunned bystander, I have to pray that this is just a pre-teen, hormonal phase.
Of course, it prompts my daily reminder to Noah: "You should never do drugs!"