Jack: Ohhhh I HATE camp!
me: What??? You love it! You’ve been so excited to go and you always have so much fun. How can you hate it?
Jack: 6 hours of the “outdoors” (he air quotes) really cuts into my technology time!
me: Well you need to be outside. It’s healthy for a boy.
Jack: But it’s hot and we never go inside.
me: Why don’t we think of some ways to make sure tomorrow is an extra special day for you.
Jack: How do we do that?
me: We can start with packing a special lunch, and your favorite bathing suit and a toy to bring?
Jack: I guess… Maybe I’ll rate each part of the day 1 through 10.
me: 10 being the best?
Jack: Yeah. Then I’ll prove to you that I hate camp.
me: Okay, we’ll try to make everything a 10 tomorrow. But remember, if you think everything is going to be awful, then you might really get your wish. The trick is to think how much fun you’ll have, and be positive. Sometimes that makes happy things happen.
Jack: Let me try that and get back to you.
me: Ha ha…okay.
(next day after camp)
me: Hi! Well… how did the rating system go?
Jack: (very excited) Well the playground definitely got a 10 because, well I can’t really tell you why, but it’s definitely a 10!!
me: Okayyyy? Interesting. What about the overall day. Like the whole thing combined?
Jack: Definitely a… 9.5! Wait. No. A 10!
me: Really? See? I told you! I’m so glad!!
Jack: And we didn’t have swimming and I think I lost my swim shirt in the changing room where I lost my flip flops last time.
me: Nice. I’m just glad it was a good day.
Jack: I get you happy first and then tell you the bad news. That always works.
me: Working the system. That’s my boy.