A few years ago when my son Jacob was in 6th grade, he had his first close encounter in “ Girl World.” He recounted the experience to my wife who picked him up after school and received the following download about his day. He began by discussing a huge disappointment related to his lunch recess. His reading teacher, Mrs. Watson had asked if he would be willing to help another student who was struggling a bit to get caught up on some reading assignments. The help would have to take place during the lunch hour. That meant lunch recess (his favorite subject) would be significantly reduced if not completely eliminated. Jacob agreed to help, hoping to knock it out quickly and salvage a little hoop time with the boys.
Libby was the student who had fallen a bit behind. She was a cute and very social 6th grade girl. Jacob was all business. “ She just wouldn’t stay focused,” Jacob reported to my wife. Renee asked about the things Libby had talked about. “ I’m not really sure, I wasn’t listening to a lot of it. At one point, she told me that she had a Hot Italian Boyfriend.” Now my wife was curious, “What did you say to her?”
“ I told her that I didn’t believe she had a Hot Italian Boyfriend,” said Jacob. Now my wife was really leaning in, “what did she say?” “ She asked me if I was Jealous,” replied Jacob. “Wow” said Renee, “how did you respond?” ‘I told her straight away that I was certainly not jealous” Jacob reported. After a slight pause he turned to my wife and with a confident and dismissive tone said,” Why would I want a Hot Italian Boyfriend?”
Jacob made a classic guy mistake. He was confidently trying to make his point while remaining blissfully unaware that he had missed the point. This tends to be the glaring blind spot in male brains. We give ourselves credit for having the right answer, before we really understand the question. When you talk with your daughter, look and listen for the question behind the question. Slow down, waste some time, and see if there is a point behind the point, a story behind the story.
Grace and Peace
Dr. Don Worcester