"…One of the overriding desires we have as mothers is that our children will be able to get along with others on their journey to adulthood and independence. They have to be able to interact with others in a positive manner in order to be successful and contributing members of the greater society…"
When Peter was finally old enough to shower by himself, his sisters, father and I would listen to him sing in the shower. We'd smile and hope that he would follow in the footsteps of his sisters and join the children's choir at church. He did.
One fall the choir director was able to get discount tickets for the Harlem Boys' Choir, which was going to perform at the Eastman Theater in Rochester, NY. I asked Peter if he'd like to go and he said yes, so I purchased tickets for him, two of his sisters and myself. His father wasn't interested.
The Sunday afternoon of the concert found us all getting ready to go. Eight-year-old Peter had pants on with a hole in the knee so I asked him to change them. He said, "No." I was shocked and said that he could pick his pants, but they could not have a hole in them. Again, he said, "No." By that point, I was exasperated. I desperately wanted Peter to have the opportunity to hear the choir sing, to enjoy the concert with us, but I also knew he needed to change those pants. I told him that unless he changed the pants, he would not go to the concert, but would stay home in his room. He would not bother his father. And he would need to do chores for me to earn the money to pay for the ticket he chose not to use. He still would not change the pants, so the girls and I left for the concert without him.
On the entire drive to the Eastman Theater, I fretted, for I had really wanted Peter to hear the boys sing. I had wanted us to spend the time together. However, what I wanted did not happen that Sunday afternoon. The concert was amazing though it took me a while to relax and enjoy it. Peter took me seriously and did stay in his room. He also did go back to singing in the shower, but that day we both learned the pain involved in saying "No."