59. “Look what I can do”

Benny remembered being told that the jelly desert wouldn’t set any faster if he kept checking on it in the fridge, that it will just have to set in its own good time, but will probably take longer if he keeps opening that door, so he’d better leave it alone.

The ants in his pants came from the fact that it was one of the first times he had ‘cooked’ something, so he was naturally keen to see that it worked. Not only did he want to be the first to dig his spoon into that smooth red wobblyness, but he was also looking forward to showing off the results — until then, he hadn’t really thought he might grow up to be a famous chef.

Sometimes I was reminded of that childhood moment of his, especially on those occasions when it became obvious that our boy was getting a little too expectant of a grand payoff of some kind or an imagined standing ovation on the back of another achievement of his. Okay, so he wasn’t shouting ‘look what I can do, look at me’ anymore, but sometimes I knew that the urge was there.

But this attitude, the hunt for recognition or looking for approval, the thought of winning certain laurels because of whatever he was successfully occupied with at that time, seemed to primarily work to dilute any aspired-to outcome. An expectation of kudos, or hope for praise, certainly got in the way of Benny actually appreciating what he had managed to bring about, and looking around for a pat on the back tended to make his otherwise solid achievements a little more rickety than they should have been.

Not that this happened very much these days, but I’ll have to try to be a little more vocal about these sorts of things as they arise. But that’s no problem. And it’s good to be needed!

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