One afternoon, while feeling the crowding of loud voices shedding from my ears, noise from the activity of an ordinary day in the classroom, and just as I was halfway down the hallway, heading towards my bedroom to change into my loose-fitting sweats and an oversized hoodie, mentally prepping myself for some quiet time and smut TV,
my son rips open his bedroom door, so forcefully that I could hear the whoosh! of wind, and he states,
“Our house is so boring. It’s so quiet!” He said it as if quietness is a bad thing. I leaned against the linen closet door and as patiently as I could I said,
“Well. If you worked all day in a classroom, with very energetic ten year olds, you too would not think a quiet house was boring. Instead, you would relish the quiet. Dream about quiet. Anticipate quiet. And you would never ever call your house boring.”
“Okay. Yeah. I can see that. From your perspective, anyway.” And he didn’t complain again.
Not until another afternoon. Months later.
“I get it, you work with kids and need downtime from all the activity happening throughout your day. But, man, when I am at my friends, and I mean all the different people’s homes I’ve been in, and spend the night, the parents never, and I mean nev-er, tell us to be quiet. The parents go to bed earlier, like you, and we play games, watch TV, talk. All with the volume pumped up. And no one says a word. No on tells us to be quiet,” my son rambles on.
“I don’t have an answer for you,” I say, without apology. “Geez, seriously, I’m not sure why the parents wouldn’t want you guys to quiet down at a certain time, but me, no way, I need my rest. I need quiet. I need my sanity. Seriously.”
I’m trying to wrap my head around the concept of kids having control of the home, but my son doesn’t seem to see it that way.
“I’m just saying, I don’t know anyone, and I mean any-one, that has rules about quieting down,” he added, seemingly just as confused, but on a different level.
“Well, when I was growing up,” I reminisced , “whichever house I was at, I don’t think we even were told to be quiet, we just were. For me, that’s the norm.”
I didn’t say it, but maybe the problem is that today’s parents, while trying to be cool, to fit in with their children, and to be their friend, are making the mistake of also believing that it’s okay for kids to Rule-the-Roost.
A few weeks, maybe months later, my son walks into the house, after a weekend spent with his friends.
“Ah, this is my sanctuary,” he said, without much thought. “I love going to my room, closing myself in.”
Go figure, is what I didn’t say.