“You’re Not The Boss Of Me”

While I admit to being surgically attached to my Kindle, I still love an excursion to an actual bookstore. There’s really nothing like holding an old school book in your hand: leafing through the pages, admiring the cover art, daring the jacket blurb to draw you in.  And the unspoken agreement amongst my fellow bookworms that silence (or at least hushed chatter) is golden.  This is my version of Heaven.

Well, it was until yesterday.

Looking forward to some deliciously pointless browsing, I entered my favorite local haunt and began meandering the aisles. I had no idea that my sweet bubble of serenity was about to be shattered by six little words:

“YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!”

After I let out a startled expletive (and apologized profusely to the elderly couple standing next to me), I turned just in time to see Josh. I had never met this banshee…er, child…before.  But I knew his name was Josh because his mother kept repeating it like a mantra as he knocked book after book off the shelves in a fit of rage.

“Josh. Josh.  JOSH.  You stop that right now.”

Yes, the lack of exclamation points is deliberate. She had probably seen Josh The Destroyer have so many public meltdowns that she was virtually immune to his piercing shriek and flailing limbs. Unfortunately, the rest of us were not inoculated against his tirades.  Looks were exchanged as Mom continued to peruse the literary offerings while her son worked out his angst on a bunch of innocent paperbacks.

Several people got up to leave.  And after seeing that no management (or law enforcement) intervention was imminent, I decided to join them.

As I drove home, my irritation gradually gave way to introspection. I was not happy that my oasis of peace was invaded.  The kid’s behavior was hugely irritating and inappropriate.

But it wasn’t abnormal.

It’s human nature to want to express ourselves with unbridled freedom.  But as adulthood looms, we learn out of necessity that kicking and screaming (literally and figuratively) are usually not the best ways to get our point across.

But we don’t just learn to curtail our tantrums.

We learn to rein in our brilliance.  Our uniqueness. And so our God given gifts and talents get shoved aside, then ultimately locked away.

So we can be practical.

Safe.

Non-threatening.

Normal.

That is, until we rise up and say to whatever is standing in our way:

“You’re not the boss of me.”

Thanks, Josh.  I think you’re on to something.

(Just take the words of wisdom down a few hundred decibels next time, okay?)

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11 Comments

  • Reply Susan March 11, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I’ve been that Mom more than I care to admit! Tantrums aren’t always about spoiled, naughty children not getting their way. Sometimes a child has no other way to express their frustration than lashing out. It’s better than holding it in — trust me on that. Kids, like adults, often suffer from “invisible” illnesses that they cannot control. Now, I personally would have scooted my raging kid outta there as quickly as possible, but my guess is it was not that mom’s first rodeo.

    Don’t give up on your favorite haunt…we all need to keep supporting independent bookstores!

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes March 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Well said, Susan! You never really know what’s going on with a child that’s acting out, so you can’t be judgmental (which I didn’t mean to come across as). And I agree that holding in frustration or other difficult emotions is never a good thing, whether you’re five or fifty-five. As for the bookstore…it would take an entire squadron of Joshes to make me stop going there! 🙂

  • Reply Nikki Blakely-Simmons March 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Wow. Beautifully written and I loved your creative expression and how you used your personal experience to share very powerful message. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. ~NBS

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes March 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Nikki! And I appreciate you, too, sharing your gift with the world. Your “Nikki’s Nuggets” FB posts keep me going more often than you realize!

  • Reply Mark March 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Seinfeld had a certain sort of NYC way for dealing with a sort of similar (fictional) situation on his show. Not that I can recommend it in real life, but…there it is.

    Warning: Not considered a good parenting skill. https://youtu.be/zb5CAutu6wA

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes March 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for the Seinfeldian wisdom, Mark! I will do my best not to emulate his technique…lol!

  • Reply Jen Schaeffer March 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Joshs are usually pains in the butts. I should know…I married one!!! (Your story is another reason I will never have more that one kid!!!)

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes March 12, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Aw, come on Jen…your Josh is a good guy! Lol! And your son is a doll, so yeah…you did just fine with one kid! 🙂

  • Reply stephanie raffelock March 11, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    There are two places that I love to be with kids, and one place I do not. I love to be with kids in a bowling alley, where it’s so loud and chaotic that they can run, scream, shriek and bounce around and they fit right in. I love to be with kids on a beach because their noisiness against the ocean’s backdrop is a charming part of the cacophony. The one place I do not like to be with kids is in a book store. I want quiet. I want to get lost in the stacks and I don’t want your noise little man…and, I might point out, you will be at least 45 before you can ever call yourself the boss of me and by then I’ll be dead. So for now, take it outside kid. 😉

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes March 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I’m with you, Stephanie! There are some places that kid noise is a joyful addition to the environment, but a bookstore? Um, yeah, not so much. 😉

  • Reply Mark March 12, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Had to share the laugh…but just to err on the safe side, here is what looks to be a quite usable list of good parenting skills. It analyzes the “because” regarding bad behavior in terms of what can be done to actually help prevent or cure.

    https://www.facebook.com/ViboyoMusic/photos/pcb.1272088696140134/1272087426140261/?type=3&theater

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