Little Jerome was tagging along with his mom on a mission. “Mom, I can have this?” he pleaded. They were in the cereal aisle, and mom was comparing the labels of generic raisin bran and the brand name equivalent. Jerome was pointing at the Fruit Loops a few feet away.
Mom glanced at him for a brief second, proclaiming “No, hon,” and then continued her label analysis.
Jerome got louder. “Mom! I want Fruit Loops. We never get Fruit Loops!”
Mom grew visibly irritated, as if she knew where this might head if she didn’t quickly nip it in the bud. “Jerome, you know we are not getting Fruit Loops. Now put those back and get over here.” Jerome was hesitant. “You listen to me young man!” She was firm. “Do I need to put you in the cart?” Jerome held the box close to his chest. Mom set the bran down and, as if she knew she had an audience, huffed, “Why doesn’t this kid ever listen?” She took the Fruit Loops from frowning Jerome, lifted him into the cart, grabbed a couple of the bran boxes and scurried away.
As she rounded the corner I silently answered her question. “Your kid doesn’t listen because you don’t listen to him.”