November 29, 2007

On Commitments

So, I've been saying yes more. I've been honoring Jerry's feelings and interests and that's all fine and good, but a pattern is emerging that I'm not exactly happy with. He's bailing out on his classes at the last minute. It's not that he wants to stop taking the classes. He insists he wants to take them. But there have been more than a few days in the last couple months when Jerry has made a commitment to attend a class and just before we leave, or the teacher arrives, or we're about to walk in the door he doesn't feel like going.

Ever since the "chess incident", whenever he's said he doesn't want to go to a class I've said okay--well, mostly. The other day he didn't want to go to trombone and I said he had to, but he went along without a fuss. He's bailing out a lot lately, though.

Remember the circus class I mentioned I've been going to? Well, he finally said he wanted to join, I signed him up, and then TWICE (not once) on the morning of class--after I'd committed to paying for his lesson--he didn't want to go. Both times I let him stay home. He did finally join me this week but only after a discussion on the importance of honoring his commitments and not taking advantage of people (me) who are paying for classes because he says he wants to take them.

Just this morning his drawing teacher was due to arrive and suddenly he didn't want to have drawing class. At first I said I would take the class instead because we'd have to pay for it whether she taught him or not but then I realized I needed to drop my car off at the mechanic's, so I said he'd have to have the lesson whether he wanted it or not.

So, basically, I'm struggling with the boundary between letting Jerry make his own choices and requiring that he honor his commitments. I'm definitely against wasting time on something just because you started it. If a book, a movie, or a class I'm taking is bad I drop it. Life is too precious to be wasted on bad art and boring teachers. And I did let Jerry drop an expensive series of classes recently because he didn't like it (and there were no refunds!). So I'm not coming at this from an "honor your commitments even if they make you want to gouge your eyes out" point of view. But when we pay for Jerry to take drawing or trombone or go to circus class because he says he wants to do those things it's not so easy for me to let it slide when he wants to stay home instead.

I'm not really sure what the solution is. This morning after drawing his teacher asked if we wanted to meet next week or the following week and I left it up to Jerry completely. At least that way there is no question about who made the commitment. Maybe part of the solution, then, is to make sure he recognizes that he is the one in control. He's making the choice to schedule the lesson, therefore he is the one in charge of honoring that commitment.

I don't know. I still don't know exactly how to balance out letting Jerry make his own choices and making sure I'm not wasting a lot of money on classes he doesn't attend.

Hmmm.....I'm not too sure about this one.

Now I have to mention something completely unrelated to this post. My cat, Charlie (the black and white one) got in the shower with me today! Yes, he actually stood on the floor of the shower and let the water run down his back. He kept his head under the shower liner so it wouldn't get wet but the rest of him was soaked by the time he finally jumped out. Isn't that funny?!

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