My 13-year-old went to bed surly last night and woke up surly this morning. We don't live with surliness all the time, but it's getting a little more frequent. An annoying younger sister, boredom, and nervousness over new Boy Scout responsibilities are getting to him. It's good he's going away for a week soon. We all need a break from each other.
So this morning he did not want to go pull weeds at our neighbor's. She had offered him the work earlier in the summer; between the heat and busyness he hasn't gotten to do it much. But the past few days we've been encouraging him (you might say) to get over there.
This morning he had various complaints but I said to put in 1/2 an hour. So he went with the annoying sister.
He came back laughing. He apologized for his earlier surliness. He said he felt a lot better.
I asked if maybe the physical work had helped his mood. He didn't hesitate to say yes. Then I saw the look in his eye that said "oh, I don't think I should have said that."
But I heard it. The little sister did too. And you know we won't let him forget it.