I was feeling it. The stress of wondering how I was going to make it with this kid. Is there was any hope for his future if every single time I tried to interact with him he falls into this stubborn anger? I wondered if I would ever get to the place where I wouldn't care anymore. Could I get to the place where I could just shrug my shoulders and ignore the behavior?
After the incident was forgotten I asked him to read to me.
Mumble, mumble, mumble....
"Please speak up so I can hear you Bud."
Mumble, mumble, mumble...
I worked and worked with him and there was absolutely NO change. "Be respectful and speak up so I can hear you, please?"
No change. Heels digging in.
Finally it was like, "James, either stand up and read to me clearly or go to bed. I'm not going to struggle with you. "
I don't want to.
"James, I DON'T really care if you don't want to, because you NEVER want to do anything I ask of you. NOTHING. You plain don't want to do anything. All day long mommy has to work with you because you don't want to and all I'm trying to do is help you to become the boy that GOD created you to be. You have gifts and talents and possibilities. BUT you don't want to do your best. You want to be satisfied with laziness. I am interested in helping you learn, to become something, and you don't want to. I don't care if you don't want to anymore. Take your choice: stand up and read so I can hear you or go to bed."
And wonder of wonders! He stood up and read.
I don't know why. I actually stopped him and asked him what made him decide to cooperate with me. He had no answer, so I pointed out the difference from his usual attitude and the freedom he was experiencing that moment. The lesson he was reading was talking about what God's ideal is for family. Mothers and fathers and children loving each other, obeying and blessing one another. We stopped to talk about the meaning.
It was one of those receptive moments, so I made the most of it. We talked about taking responsibility for our selves. I asked him why he thought I never ever ask Vanessa to brush her teeth. I am not sure it was a new thought... but it seemed like a funny idea. The answer, of course, is that she brushes them on her own without anyone telling her to. I asked him what he does on the rare occasion that I forget to tell him to brush his teeth. He didn't want to think about it, because he is absolutely delighted if I forget to tell him and he's just thrilled to get away with not doing something he knows is expected of him. He was serious and said he would think about doing things on his own. I had to bring in using a toilet, of course :-P
He was a good kid for the rest of the day. I helped him make some Valentine cards like Missy had. The possibility of using the rubber stamps may have actually been the catalyst to the big turn around earlier. He didn't say that, but I think when I suggested going to bed he remembered how Missy had made cards while he was in bed the evening before. He really, really wanted to make cards.
So, what will it take?
Today gives me hope - because he was able to make a drastic about-face.
However, I am going to have to see a lot more of that.
What's it going to take to save this kid?