From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul


The wisest men follow their own direction.


His given name is John, but we call him Jack after his great-grandfather, this miracle baby who blesses our family.

From the moment I first held him in my arms, I recognized his gentle nature, easy-going personality and sensitive spirit. I pondered who and what he might someday become and—on the spot—I began to spin and weave my dreams.

Jack loves music, so every night I sing a hymn to him as he melds his head into my neck. And when we play his favorite Jana Alayra video, he and Madison “jump to the light, light, light” while he imitates his sister’s hand motions.

He’s got rhythm, I think. I bet he’ll lead the church choir. On a crusade. Worldwide.

When it’s time for our nightly prayers, Jack darts straight to the bedroom. He kneels, folds his hands and closes his eyes without any prompting from us.

He’s spiritual, I glow with satisfaction. He’ll be a man of the cloth, a beloved pastor someday. I wouldn’t mind that a bit.

Yet, Jack is all b-o-y—with a capital “B.” He climbs everything in sight. An admired mountaineer, I decide. As he vroom-vrooms his toy trucks across my floors, I reconsider. An innovative automotive engineer?

He spends hours in the kitchen, opening and closing the cupboard doors. Hmmm, I dream on, a designer? No, an architect, I bet. I nod decisively. This kid is definitely destined to be and do great things!

Actually—I come to realize—he’s obsessed with doors, and not just those in the kitchen. All doors. The front door, the back door, the bathroom door. The French doors, doggie doors, playhouse doors. Open and close, open and close, open and . . . it’s enough to drive a less career-oriented mommy nuts.

Which brings me to this evening. Here we are dining at our favorite Italian eatery—kid-friendly, with paper and crayons to occupy our little ones. But Jack, to my surprise, doesn’t show an artistic bent. Instead, he bounces toward the restaurant’s front door.

“Honey,” I follow him, “get out of the way. People are coming in and out.”

Jack isn’t listening. He’s too busy . . . opening the door and stepping to the side as a couple enters.

“Thank you, young man,” they say, smiling at my preschooler.

Encouraged, Jack holds the door as a woman walks through. “What a nice little gentleman,” she praises my son.

He pushes it wide to accommodate a family of teenagers. “Hey, there, buddy. Thanks for muscling the door.”

Jack beams, obviously hooked and happy in his newfound career.

I smile inwardly—more at myself than my son. I guess Jack has a mind of his own. And I nod my head in acceptance. My son . . . the doorman!

Maria Nickless

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