I think most families who have more than one child can identify that ONE child who seems to challenge their patience, consume their time, and rattle their parenting skills. There is no doubt in our family which child serves this role. He is so brutally honest, even he would tell you that he is “that ONE.” We all love him dearly, and honestly his siblings are quite protective of him. He is amazingly frustrating and endearing at the same time. He is the ONE who requires more direction and suffers more natural consequences of his impulsive decisions. As evidenced by his declaration at the dinner table one night, “Oh Please! Who doesn’t go to the principal’s office for a WHOLE six weeks?!” As each of his siblings assured him that they do not suffer from this particular issue, he just laughed good-naturedly, was a little embarrassed, but still tried to make his point. This child is the second born in our home with four children. He is the ONE who challenges me every day to be a better person. He requires more energy and involvement than any of the other children. He has always been the child who lived by the unspoken rule of “negative attention is better than no attention.” He has shown me unconditional love even in the face of my flawed parenting and declining patience. He holds me to my own rules. He challenges me to draw out his potential and redirect his energy. He has never come by any talent or academic strength easily. He has had to learn the meaning and the harsh reality of hard work and perseverance. He demonstrates strength and courage every day that other children rarely have to summon. With his struggle to understand and to be understood, he could easily lock himself away emotionally, but he doesn’t. This child demonstrates a frightening capacity to see right through the motives of those around him and he is not afraid to show compassion, or contempt, if he identifies an injustice. We have had to remind him often that he is “not the police”. But his willingness to speak up challenges me to do the same. It seems unreasonable in his mind to allow an injustice to go by unnoticed. His inner strength and self-awareness could create a very selfish human being, but instead it has created a child born to be a leader. A young man who has suffered the pain of not being like the rest of the crowd, who stands out in the crowd, and now demonstrates the willingness and the ability to lead the crowd. It has been amazing to watch him develop into a determined young man. We all have learned from him. We recognize others who are like him who tend to be targets for bullies and naturally lean toward them. We know he is faithful and fiercely protective of those he loves. We recognize the extra effort it has taken for him to succeed in school. We each have played a role in helping him to grow in different areas, as he teaches us through good times and bad to hang on and believe in the best potential outcome. This child, that ONE, has surely been the one who has purified us through fire! But he is the ONE who I know will succeed in finding his path in life and pursuing it with all of his heart. This child is the reason I reassure random moms in the stores who are clearly overwhelmed by their strong-willed ONE. Every child comes with their own strengths and struggles. All four of mine are very different and simply having four children means that the odds are pretty high at any given moment that somebody is having an issue! But that ONE, he challenges me best. Best because great things don’t just happen anymore than great people just appear. This ONE knows that he is our challenge who keeps us humbled and yet pressing forward. He is worth the challenge, the risks, the extra time, and the gallons of tears. This ONE is proving that our goal can not be to break his will or change him, but to recognize his strengths and the gifts that come with his personality. This ONE is a gift who will always make a difference in the lives of those around him. When he was in elementary school I learned to introduce him to his teachers as the child “who just might be the president some day, but until then we all have our work cut out for us!” It’s not easy raising world leaders, but it certainly is a privilege.
4 thoughts on “That ONE”
Deep down, EVERYBODY just wants to be understood the way you understand your children. There is such a relief when you know someone understands you even when you’re being difficult!
Thanks again for the encouragement! All four of my children are so very different and I wouldn’t begin to change them :). Thanks for reading my post!
Diane, well written. I love the points you make. I totally can relate to showing up and trying to explain to teachers. I have had several teachers at different times tell me…………”they have never had a kid like me ‘one'” And I now consider them lucky. We need more kids in this world like your “one.” Keep writing!
Thanks Mary! I’m convinced there’s no perfect kids but we can train them to be great adults! 🙂