Elusive responsibility

What has the face of an angel, the wardrobe of a cartoon character, and the memory of a goldfish?

That would be my 12-year-old son, Jake.

Oh, responsibility! That so important life trait that stands continually just a smidgen outside of Jake’s grasp—when will it finally click? When will his room stay clean? When will his papers be right where he thinks they are? When will we stop finding 3-month-old, unsold raffle tickets from the long gone Halloween band fundraiser and notes to last year’s teachers? When, oh when, will Jake get all of his homework done in one sitting because he remembered all of his assignments all at one time?

Woe is me, but I think perhaps never.

Don’t get me wrong. He’s a good guy, Jake. He’s talented. He’s funny. He’s awfully personable. I just wish he’s put it together…get it together…keep it together, just long enough for whatever “it” is to take root so that it’s in his memory banks for whenever “it” pops up again.

As I think about it, though, even with the first 12 years behind us, growing up still has its phases, and responsibility is the challenge of now. We’ve already tackled sleeping through the night, antisocial biting, throwing food on the floor, running out into the street, taking turns, reading, writing, basic math, taking out the trash, being a team player, manners, pitching in to help, and basic money management. And, believe me, I couldn’t be more thankful that non-confrontational vegetarianism just came naturally to him. So with this, I encourage myself in the process. Responsibility is elusive now, but he’ll get it.

Then again, once he gets it, will he remember where he put it?