“I don’t feel like reading,” my son tells me. “I’m tired.”
Of course he’s tired. He’s been in avoidance mode for at least four hours. He’s worn himself out watching TV, dribbling the basketball, going for a drive, dribbling the basketball, running errands, dribbling the basketball, playing with the cat, dribbling the basketball, even asking if he could mop the floor–then dribbling the basketball. He never did mop the floor, but you know you’ve got some serious avoidance happening when your fourteen-year-old asks if he can mop.
His reading tutor has set him up with a stack of books, a timer, a reading log, and an assignment: read for 25 minutes each day.
This sounds like a dream assignment to me–well, except for the reading log–but then, I’m not dyslexic.
“I just don’t like to read,” he says.
“I know you don’t,” I say.
“I hate it.”
“It’s not your favorite thing.”
“Even if I could do it really, really good, I wouldn’t like it. I mean, I can do it fine. I can read. It’s not like I can’t read. But even if I was really good, I would never choose to pick up a book.”
“You like to do different things.”
“I don’t like sitting still,” he says. “I’ve gotta be moving!”
“You’re very active.”
“Reading is boring.”
“It sounds like it’s not that interesting for you.”
And so it goes. He complains. I listen reflectively.
“I’m not going to do it,” he decides finally. “It’s up to me, right? I choose.”
“Yes,” I agree. “You choose. It’s up to you.”
“I mean, I already know how to read. I read just fine.”
“I’m too tired,” he says. “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
I nod again.
He picks up the basketball, bounces it twice against the hardwood floor. He shoots it across the room into a basket he has repurposed as a hoop. He retrieves the ball, bounces it twice, shoots from across the room. The ball rattles around the basket.
This time he leaves it there. He sighs.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” he says.
I expect to hear the creak of the floorboards as he disappears upstairs. Or perhaps the slam of the back door as he heads outside.
Instead, I hear some rustling in the living room and then the beep beep beep as he sets the timer for 25 minutes.