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We are a stiff-necked people

“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.” ~Exodus 32:9

Kyle Piper with his cousin Hailey at Kyle's 1st Holy Communion
Kyle Piper with his cousin Hailey at Kyle's 1st Holy Communion

You know it’s true, the bible holds a lot of stories and lessons to be learned. They seem to revolve around disobedience and obedience, putting it in simple terms. With each story there seems to be a warning, a rule or guideline, an order, a reward, an example or sometimes a combination. God does this because he loves us so very much, and he tends to instruct us like parents raising their children. Very fitting since we are all God’s children and He is our Father. I can’t say that I’ve had this discovery on my own, well maybe the part that we, as humans, fall and reach out to God time and time again. I do know that when you will what God wants you to, you always get what you want. This seems to be the on-going theme discussed between the liturgy at mass, my CCD teacher, and my bible study teacher over the years. So this poses the question, are we really just children? Do we act as they do and turn our backs on guidance and authority? And therefore should we, as “adults”, be more understanding of children?

Kyle Piper receiving a gift from Kelly Piper
Kyle gets an alphabet puzzle gift from Kelly Piper. He always loved to learn. Christmas 2003

Being in management and leadership roles throughout my career, I have dealt with situations involving co-workers and vendors. And I will say, at times I’ve had to play the “parent” role, like they were my children. I was never disrespectful (or least that was never my intent) or demeaning. Management is really nothing more than teaching and guiding individuals toward a goal, the best way possible. So I wonder if it’s safe to say the best managers are good parents? I would love to see studies on this…

Sometimes children just don’t want to listen. They turn their back and make excuses, deny, ignore or flat out refuse guidance. As great of a child as Kyle is, he is a typical little boy, a typical human like the rest of us. But sometimes this behavior tests my patience.

Yesterday, Kyle didn’t want to do his homework or practice his piano and guitar. I guess I better take a step back and mention that Kyle always has workbooks, flashcards, and reading to do, in addition to his school work, every weekend including the summer, with the exception of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and his birthday. He has to maintain his studies whether he has schoolwork or not or during summer vacation. Kyle is a very intelligent child, but he gets lazy and I’ve found, from experience, doing this extra work helps him maintain his grades and retain what he’s learned.

Aunt Heather Piper reading to Kyle Piper
Kyle always did love me reading to him, especially dinosaur books. Yes that's a sticker on his face. 11/18/03

Kyle is going into the 5th grade, but when he was in the 1st or 2nd grade, one quarter his grades dropped drastically across the board in all subjects. In some cases the grades dropped by an entire letter grade or two. I had no idea why, but I was certain to never let it happen again. I was very concerned and wanted to find out why. Unfortunately, being his aunt, I am not privy to this information, nor can I speak to his teachers to find out the best way to teach him. Since I only have Kyle on the weekends and one day during the week, I don’t have certain privileges. Well, I would not just sit back and accept this, so I got creative and came up with my own solution… and that was doing extra workbooks and reading, which we’ve been doing religiously since that time. Usually Kyle picks his poison, so to speak, except if I see his grades are dropping in a certain subject then I have him focus on that specific subject.

Aunt Heather Piper and Kyle Piper study art history
Kyle always loved to help me with my school work...never too young to learn art history.

Now getting back to my story. Kyle did not want to listen this past Saturday and he carried on for hourse about doing the work, whining and complaining. It took him all day to do about 30 minutes worth of work. O my! Then when it came to reading, he wanted to read his new books he got from my sister. I have no problem with that, but I also want to teach him that if he started something, meaning Charlotte’s Web, then he should finish it, especially with only 4 chapters left. I tried to explain that when he goes to high school there will be books and projects he doesn’t like or want to do, but they are required. I also wanted him to get in the habit of finishing what he started. Going through life without accomplishing anything is no way to live.

Needless to say, he finally finished all his work by 7ish at night and we started around 10ish am. I wouldn’t let him watch cartoons or play on the computer until the work was done, yet he was so bull headed it took him all day. Kyle even argued with me over his math problems, a subject he loves, and yet he was arguing over the incorrect problems. He argued about multiplying wrong! Are you kidding me? He argued that 4 x 8 was 49 among a few of the other problems. He would not fix them and he really wanted to be defiant.

I guess everyone gets in a mood now and then… it must have been his day. He was very, very good serving mass on Saturday night. I guess he just had a little stiff neck and he didn’t realize that I will never back down to doing what’s right!

Published inChurchEducation & LearningObservation & ImaginationPatience

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