Kris goes back to school

Recently, I was interviewed by a friend for a biography project he was working on. After he had his turn with me, I took mine with him. The process helped me hone my listening skills and reminded me that everyone has a story worth telling.

“I don’t know yet if I want to get married and have kids. It’s not really something to decide when you’re 10.” I sometimes forget my friend Jacob is only 10. When we sat down to talk recently, he was more interested in discussing his future than talking about what he’s achieved in the first decade of his life. He knows he has a lot to look forward to like working out in a gym, where he can lift weights and do other stuff.

Jacob projected that his bar mitzvah, which is three years away, will be what he will remember as the most important milestone of his youth. “It’s going to be an awesome day,” he told me. “Getting cash, becoming a man, having a kick-ass party.”

To my young friend, being a man means having more responsibility– and drinking beer. And he thinks it may include a career in medicine as a surgeon or a doctor who practices “a variety” of medicine. Yes, yes, the Jewish doctor cliché… Here, it’s a real possibility. Jacob is one of the smartest people I know. He’s insightful and sensitive too and plans to remain close to his brothers well into adulthood. “I hope it will be a lot more getting along. Right now we are arguing all the time and I wish it didn’t happen. I would rather just have cooperation with them.”

Before I could get him to elaborate, he realized it was his turn to control the television and with an Adam Sandler movie on, I hardly had a shot at retaining his attention. He is just 10, after all.

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