It’s also very possible, since your MC is still a kid and his parents are dead, that he totally misconstrued their meaning with that advice.
So true and something I hadn’t considered. Thanks, this is all super helpful.
I know someone who, when she was a little girl
Oh no! And your mom, I mean your friend’s mom was just hoping for more smiles, not trying to ruin a self image.
A possible Ah-ha scene near the end of the book could include his correction or more adult-like understanding of that bit of wisdom, which would be a resolution of INTERNAL conflict along with whatever external issues are in the plot.
Perfect! <light bulbs going off> Have you considered doing an ENDINGS workshop?