Teenage Resistance To The Teachable Moment
TechSupport was relaxing, drawing in his notebook to complete an assignment for his art class.
“Can I show you something?” my husband interjected. He used to be a pretty good artist back in the day. “I want to show you how to look at that can of soda and really see it.”
“I kind of just want to draw,” Tech said.
My husband pulled a chair over to the kitchen table where our son was sitting. “I just want to show you something,” he said. “Will you just look?”
Tech kept his eyes on his notebook. “I will.” His hands gripped his pencil tightly. “In a little while.”
I addressed my husband. “Not every moment has to be a teachable moment…”
My husband glared at me. “Don’t do that.” He held up one hand. “You’re always undermining me. I just want to show him something.”
Insulted, my husband pushed back from the table, scraped the chair’s legs against the hardwood floors, and he stormed off into another room.
Tech’s hand continued to move. He wasn’t really looking at his can of soda. He was just coloring.
“You know,” I said. “Instead of making a big stink, you could’ve just listened to what he wanted to say.”
Tech bit his lip and continued drawing.
After a while, Hubby reappeared. “Now can I show you something?”
I could feel how much my husband wanted to show our son what he knew. How he wanted our child to see the world differently. How he wanted him to see shadows and light. How he wanted him to see a different perspective.
Tech looked at me, then at his father. I could see he was biting the inside of his cheek.
I imagine he felt outnumbered.
There are always two of us, and only one of him. He tries so hard to please.
My husband started again. He showed our son how the eye can lie. How colors can be different, not uniform. How a brown can of soda isn’t really brown when you are drawing it. If you look, it is gray and maroon. Even orange in places.
“That’s all I wanted to show you,” my husband said with some degree of satisfaction.
After all, he got what he wanted.
“Thanks,” Tech said with a blend of gratitude and sarcasm in his voice.
My husband’s cell phone rang and he answered it.
And Tech continued to draw with his brown pencil.
Not gray, no maroon, no orange. He only used brown: a Good Son’s quiet act of defiance.
What my husband didn’t know was that Tech and I had plans. We’d said that while he drew his picture of Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, that I would write about the same topic.
I guess it didn’t go quite as planned.
Or maybe we all got it done in our own way.
Michel Foucault once wrote: “Where there is power there is also resistance.” Anyone experiencing any resistance lately?