So, the boy arrived home from the school this week wearing his swimsuit.
He had lost his shorts. And those other shorts, also.
Yes, those other shorts.
The conversation went like this.
“How was your day at school, son?”
“I lost my shorts.”
“And my underwear too.”
“That’s great Jon.”
The swimsuit my son wears is one of those form-fitting suits, down halfway to the knee, but tight-tight-tight, if you can imagine, looking all the tighter on a lad who is still in that bony-stage of boyhood.
This is apparently what my son wore around to his classes.
Of course, things in Africa go missing all the time. Don’t pay attention and you’ll lose the socks from inside your shoes. All the more at Christmas time, and also during election seasons (which, like in Canada, we happen to be approaching here in Uganda.)
So we need to keep perspective. This theft of Jon’s underwear happened sometime during his school’s swimming gala, so, I also cut Jon some slack for this reason.
It’s not like he was just sitting in math class and looked down and noticed he was getting a draft down there, and reached in his school bag and pulled out his swim kit. (“Kit” – this is what they call a swimsuit here in Uganda.)
Then again, who’s to say my son hasn’t stumbled on a new trend? Swimsuits in class. I can send our dog in his Speedo for a bit of fashion show to help the kids decide.
In either case, my son was so comfortable with it all that after he came home, he even kept wearing said swimsuit to the supper table.
My wife has a different perspective on it all. She thinks this is just one more indicator that we’ve failed as parents.
I don’t know. I keep meticulous records of all we have done for our kids. I think we’re doing fine.
Regarding my son, I see here I gave him physical affection on June 3. That was a kiss on the forehead. Then a handshake. (His birthday was coming up in a few weeks.)
I played ball with the boy – it was a full 10 minutes — three weeks later.
I read to him on Aug. 15, that is August of 2009. (Always important, read out loud!)
We do feed him regularly.
We provide those swimsuits, as you know.
I hold him accountable for his actions to the extent, you know, I do the same for myself.
Even though some would say it’s a waste of time, I also regularly talk about issues of importance with each of our kids.
These discussions include, but are not limited to, whatever I am stressed out about on any particular day, not the least of which, if course, is the kids themselves.
This, I’ve discovered, is the very best way to share intimate family moments, especially, of course, around the dinner table.
And we do sit around the dinner table regularly. If you know your family research, this is also a significant factor in raising successful kids. For us, this shared meal is usually the second Sunday of every third month (plus every single time our son comes home wearing his swimsuit.)
I could go on, but, well, I think you get the idea on how we’re really doing okay. Fine enough to write about a book on it all.
But that would be just one more item on my very, very, VERY long and important To Do List.