I recently heard the words: “It is like getting blood out of a stone,” used by a poor long suffering mother.
The words were referring to a quiet, rather inoffensive, ten year old who simply did not want to work on eleven plus papers every single day. Instead of negotiating days and times the ten year old had simply put his foot down and declined to do any work without a major battle.
I think the picture of a mother squeezing a large stone with both hands – and relieving her frustration at the same time is appealing.
The mental picture of blood letting is far less attractive. Back in the 19th Century patients used allow `doctors’ to use a device called a `scarificator’. This had blades that cut into a patient and allowed blood to be drawn off. The theory was that drawing blood from a person helped healing by relieving pressure.
A far easier way for a mother to relive pressure is to simply insist that she gets most of her own way. The words `have a go’ are used by some ten year olds to describe a mother’s earnest plea for her child to sit down and do some work.
“You are always having a go at me,” to a child is a robust defence of an untenable position.
So here we have two different points of view. On the one hand the mother feels that her child is being obstinate and unfeeling. The child, however, thinks that his mother is relentless in her attempts to try to get even a modicum of work done.
Compromise could be the answer – but then both sides have to give a little. To give up an entrenched position is very difficult. But drawing blood out of a stone is also difficult.