It doesn’t matter if I’m staring straight at him, if I’m making eye contact, if he clearly has my undivided attention. When Manchild says the words, “Watch me,” he will not complete whatever stunt he has in mind (from chewing his food to jumping off the toy box while doing a 180) until he hears me say the words, “I’m watching.”
It seems so childish of him to wait for me to tell him I’m watching, doesn’t it? I mean, only a child would not be able to see that I am clearly interested in what he is going to do when I am looking directly at him, right? It is, of course, totally fine for him to do it. He is a child and he’s allowed to be childish. But there are times (many of them) when I think maybe he’s not being childish at all and, in fact, he’s showing an almost disturbing amount of maturity. He knows I’m looking at him, but he also knows that doesn’t necessarily mean I see him. My mind could be somewhere else and he’s calling me on my inattention. He wants to know that I heard him, that I’m with him. He needs me to commit to him in more way than one.
And he’s right. There is power in saying things out loud. When I tell the Manchild I’m watching him, I’m more conscious of when my eyes, and my mind, wander. When I tell someone else I’m going to stop eating sweets for a month, I’m very aware that I’m breaking my word if I take a slice of pie. When I inform Micah of my intention to wake up early in the morning to go running, not only do I commit myself more fully to the endeavor than if I were to keep it to myself, I expect him to keep me honest. It helps to have an audience — even if it is the slice of pie that you pledge to let live another day.
So, I’m going to go running in the morning. It’s going to be cold. I’m going to be tired. But I’m going to do it anyway. Just watch me.
What are you going to do?