Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Too Much Justice

My youngest son is the informant in our family. He has a keen overdeveloped sense of justice. If any other family member does anything that our informant believes to be even slightly out of kilter, he goes into full tattle mode. (And he’ll remember any infraction FOREVER.)

This morning while the informant was in the shower, his older brother was practicing on the piano. The informant burst upon the scene during a break in the piano practice while the practicing son was looking for a piece of sheet music he wanted to try out.

I asked the informant to resort to my Roland keyboard to practice his piano lessons before playing. He reluctantly complied. The other son soon found the sought for music and practiced it for a while. He then left the piano to do something else.

The informant promptly popped up from the keyboard and started to put his music away. He had only put in about a third of the required practice, so I called him on it. His immediate response was to accuse his older brother of practicing too briefly. (He never tires of the accusation distraction.) When I explained that his brother had already completed most of his practice during the informant’s shower time, he sheepishly returned to the keyboard and finished his practice.

I dearly love my youngest son. I identify with him on a visceral level. You see, I played the ‘justice’ role in my family growing up. There’s a lot that goes with that job, including rigid inflexibility, especially in matters of process. The final outcome pales in importance to the process. Variations in the process cause more upset than variations in the results.

I drove my family members up the wall with my insistence on doing family traditions exactly the same way as we did the last time around. Never mind the fact that conditions were different the next time around.

Another thing my ‘justice’ boy has in common with me is that he is a world class pouter. As a kid, I was a pro at pouting. (My Mom has photos to prove it.) I could keep it up for hours on end when my oversensitive sense of justice was offended.

Like me as a kid, my justice boy sometimes drives other family members crazy. I correct him, but inside I cut him slack, because I look at him and see me as a child. I hope my boy eventually tempers his sense of justice as he grows up. Some people never outgrow this. That’s how we end up with some of the rules and regulations we live with, or with some of the nasty implementations of such.

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