I always thought that if I could write a script of infinite length and give it to Nate to read, he’d never go astray. Though he often fights change, Nate is eminently adaptable; he just needs some advance notice. I’ve spent a lifetime whispering in his ear, “Nate, say hello,” “Nate, don’t forget to ask,” and on and on. Being bright has allowed Nate to turn specific instructions into general rules and, among other things, he has grown into an extremely polite man. Giving him a head’s up on expected behavior has been the key for him.
When his computer crashed last week, I had fortunately backed up 90% or more of his files, but not all. I figured that, at 21, Nate was old enough to take a bit of responsibility on the matter of saving important files.
“Nate, can you write a list of files you update and then I can back them up?” I figured if he had a few documents or pictures that he tinkered with daily, I could be on top of work and make sure they didn’t disappear. That was if he would cooperate.
“Aaargghh! But I don’t want to do that!” That was his first reaction.
“OK, then I can’t be sure that I’ll save everything you need. If you want to be sure we don’t lose things, you have to help me.” A plan laid out, if he’d only sign up.
“Maybe I’ll do that.” That usually means no.
Much to my surprise, and glee, there was a list waiting for me the next morning. Nate had quickly realized the need to become an active participant in protecting his stuff. Now, at the end of each day, I’m handed a list like this:
Sometimes he’ll suggest we work together on backing up his files, or he has a plan to move photos from his laptop to his desktop and I marvel at how quickly he has taken the reins on an issue that is so important to him.