That's how the kids do it these days right? Back in the day, we would fight the authority of our parents and teachers on a regular basis.
Not much has changed with them, or us.
Here is a short list of the things we couldn't be made to do:
Share - that's my toy and I'd rather break it than let my little brother or sister or that annoying kid from next door play with it.
Fair - was the word used to describe anything done to me or against me.
Pay - was the thing you threatened, as in "you're gonna pay or playing with my toy."
Play - I don't care if he's my cousin, I don't wanna play with him.
Watch - you can watch my tone, but I'm not gonna.
I remember having epic fights with Shaggy when he was much younger. He was the kid who would hear the consequences of an action, weigh the action against the consequences, then proceed with the action. He would often hit his brother and then take himself to timeout. Then he realized we had zero power and that taking on the parents was way more fun than his brother.
He would be told to go to timeout and refuse to go.
When he went, he wouldn't stay.
When he wouldn't stay "worse" punishments ensued.
One day when he was older, we got the brilliant idea to make him write sentences! Good penmanship, pinning him to a chair, and a timeout...BRILLIANT! So, it started with the threat of sentences.
Me: if you do X, you will have to write me 25 sentences.
Shaggy: what do the sentences have to say?
Me: they will be sentences that indicate what you did wrong and that you won't do it again.
Shaggy: I don't want to write sentences.
Me: and that is why it is punishment.
Bad behavior referred to as X ensued.
Me: ok, guess you'll be writing me those sentences.
Shaggy: I'm not writing them.
Now I had already seen this coming and the trick was not to waver, but to add sentences and indicate that the amount of sentences was entirely in his control...
|This is more sentences than Shaggy wrote|
and with less excitement
Me: well, you've earned another 25. I suggest that you get to work on them.
Shaggy: that's not fair, I'm not doing the stupid sentences.
Me: I guess you want another 25? You know I took advanced math and can count really high, right?
Shaggy: count as high as you want, I'm not doing them.
Me: so, 100?
Shaggy: I'm not doing them.
Me: so, you want to do 200 then?
I figured escalation would prove my tenacity and seriousness. At this point, I should have realized the folly.
Shaggy: what?! You can't add a hundred!
Me: there are rules?
This witty banter continued and by the time my wife came home, he had earned 1400 sentences. Yes, I didn't put the decimal in the wrong place. Her comment to me was "I haven't been gone that long!" Bless her heart, she went along with it, though now I believe it was more to watch me squirm.
I finally placed Shaggy at the kitchen table with all the necessary writing instruments and none of the distractions. You would be amazed at what a young boy can consider a distraction. It was too bright, then too dark. The chair was too high, too hard, too far away, not in the right spot. He lost the point on his pencil so many times I got him a pen.
Ask me how many he did at the first sitting, though I imagine you can guess. If you guessed less than 10, you were right.
When I went to check on him, he was gone. He had realized that if you are prepared for the worst, there really isn't anything they can make you do. If no reward was ever great enough and no punishment stiff enough, the rules of "make me!" didn't apply.
As an adult, I realize that we play the "you can't make me" game just as much as when we were younger. We have learned a new skill in the form of passive-aggressive behavior. Now we face life with the same words:
Share - this is my money, why should I give it to the government to waste.
Fair -It isn't fair that I have to pay these taxes
Pay - taxes are for the rich to pay, I barely get by.
Play -If I didn't have to pay these taxes, I could afford to get a pool to play in.
Watch -I don't want to watch the news about economic recovery coming to a seriously poor neighborhood near you.
The above may only slightly be my mood based on owing taxes this year and not getting a fantabulous vacation as a result.