The Camel’s Back

I saw a side of Ben last night that I never wanted to see.  It was so sad and so heart-wrenching.  He has been struggling with trying to make a person in his life see his worth.  He has been let down and criticized and held back and had other kids who he is, at the very least, an equal to be raised above him and praised.  Last night he had enough.  He had been told that this was happening because this person thought he was motivating him to be better.  This person just lost my son.  For most who know Ben, this would be a loss.  Ben is so loyal and devoted and will do anything to please those in his life.  He will work harder and more to push himself when someone sees worth in him.

By making him feel like no amount of work would ever be enough, this experience has been ruined for him.  It kills me. It is a life lesson that no matter how hard you work or how good you are, some people will favor others over you.  But it is not a lesson that I want my eight-year-old to learn.  Kids at this age are unwaveringly fair-minded.  He came hime last night and for the first time he said with no sorrow, “I am quitting.”

He is quitting on a thing that he loved more than anything yesterday morning.  He is quitting because this adult quit on him.  Ben believes that there is no point.  There is nothing he can do to make this person see his worth.  I cannot argue with him.  Ben has busted his behind for this person, more than I have ever seen him work for anything and there have been only criticisms.  I have secretly been hoping he would quit for awhile now.  It has become increasingly obvious that there are two standards and it is something that many others have seen and commented on.  I have said that I feel like I am paying to give my son a bully and that the atmosphere is more like that of an abusive relationship – knock you down over and over till you are at your lowest and then give you a tidbit of hope.  I have been a part of those relationships and it killed me to see my son in it.  I have secretly been scoping for other resources, sadly, there are few.

I hate that Ben had to be driven to this.  I hate that what he once loved and what could have been a wonderful experience now has a dark tint and I hope that I can save that for him, but right now he is very bitter.  Sweet, kind, considerate eight-year-olds should not be taught to be bitter and cynical and it kills me that he had to learn that so young.  I will pick him up and brush him off, and build him up, and place others in his life that will hopefully start to repair this feeling that he has right now.