Have you ever read “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot ? We lived in WI at the time my teenage son Derek came home from school with the book ( 8th or 9th grade I think)….and it sat on his desk for a week unmoved. I did not mention I had read it when I asked if he was reading it? His “NO” was emphatic but the “not yet” was weak. I was not a parent to censor what my kids were interested in and they showed good judgment so generally I watched what they watched and read what they read especially if it was questionable. So of course I needed clarity on the “not yet“.
Derek said that his class was assigned the book…everyone had to read it. He mumbled his lack of interest. Still I didn’t tell him I had read it or try to persuade him to read the book. Instead I said I heard it was good…though no apparent attitude change with that. lol So I persisted because it was for homework thus part of his grade. Also I wanted Derek to read the book as those reciprocal discussions were something that I loved.
I knew Derek’s ethics , and I knew the book so I offered…”well….. IF you read JUST the first chapter this morning and still don’t want to finish it…then I’ll help you do your HW.” Half hearted but he did agree. Partly because he was a good student, and I knew he would do his homework but I think he knew he might as well get it over with. Within the hour he got to it. Next thing I hear was his laughter.
Derek laughs when something is funny…NOT just to be sociable. In other words his demeanor to me was transparent. Since I knew the laughter was genuine, and it was also my own reaction to what I read in the book. I eventually ventured past his open door to confirm. Several times in a stalking kind of way. Confirmation that Derek was well past chapter 1. I would have to say it was such a mix of pride and alarm.
The pride: I wasn’t sure he would like the book…but he made a deal and he stuck with it.
The alarm: …well IF you have read All Creatures Great and Small you know the contents are actually pretty racy in the animal world.
Derek did not apparently have any trouble grasping it’s content. What’s your point rem?? There is not much more generic and unthreatening way to talk about reproduction to a teenager. The actual conversations about the book (of life) are not as memorable to me as is the fact that it was most likely the first in depth and adult conversation I had with my son. I may have faults…but my instinct for grasping the moment are exceptional.