That was a conversation I had with my son Jake last week. He overheard me talking to my mom about the latest Jake updates and I had commented that Jake was in training to be a lawyer. Ever since Jake was 5, he’s been telling me that he’s going to be an athlete (he’ll play both baseball AND football – watch out Deion Sanders!) so he wasn’t sure why I was telling his grandmother he was going to be a lawyer.
When he first learned to talk, he asked about a thousand questions a day. I always figured this was normal behavior as I heard other moms talk about their kids doing this. It was always ‘why this’ and ‘what’s that’ … I mean, that’s just normal right?
Some his most memorable questions went like this:
Jake: “What does a yellow light mean?” Me: “Speed up the car so you get through the light before it turns red.”
Jake: “Where do giants come from?” Me: “New York”
Jake: “Why does the TV do this when I push this button?” Me: “Don’t touch that – put down the remote!”
Now the questions have morphed into a full-on debate with him. Just last week, we went round and round over whether he could wear his spirit shirt to school or not that day. I had a list full of reasons – it’s too small, there’s a hole in the back, there’s permanent paint stain on the bottom – but he just kept on until I screamed that I’d had enough.
I took a deep breath. I asked him at what point was he going to stop asking me and just accept that my answer was no. He then shared with me his teacher has taught him that he needed 4 – 5 arguments to make his case and he was looking for at least four reasons from me. I told him he was taking this way too literal and my first no means no, end of story.
After I explained to him what the word ‘literal’ means, we launched into this conversation about why he feels like he always has to debate me on almost every decision I make that concerns him. We kept talking about this until he finally admitted the truth – he does it because he likes to be right. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard him say this and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I just don’t see how I’m wrong about this laywer thing. How does an 8-year old understand the importance of being right and says the words argument and case in the same sentence and not have the lawyer gene? Come on folks, back me up on this one.
Jake has decided he’s going to disagree with me and still thinks he’s going to grow up to be an athlete. My rebuttal to that is to quote a line from To Kill a Mockingbird, “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once too.”
Photo credit: Law Books