I’ve told you already about the stupidest thing I ever said about my kids; now I’d like to tell you a couple of stories about what my kids have taught me… about myself.
Lesson #1: My oldest boy, around the age of four, began to get a bit restless at the meals. Having watched friends’ children wage battles of will over food, I nervously sought advice.
“Lay out the rules,” I was told. “Be clear about the consequences. Don’t nag or remind him, just act.” So the lad and I had a little chat. I explained that if he rose from the table without being excused, that would mean he was finished his meal, and I would take away his plate. He agreed this was fair.
At lunch the next day, he tucked in with gusto but soon started to dawdle. Then he got up and disappeared from the room. I gave him a 15 second count, gulped, took a deep breath and scraped the food into the garbage. Seven minutes later – Me watch the clock? Not me. – he bounced back in, looked at his empty, wiped-clean place and asked: “What happened to my sandwich?”
I recalled our conversation, the new rule, how he’d agreed, we’d talked… ya-da-ya-da, blah-blah-blah.
“Oh.” he calmly stated, “You meant it this time.”And happily went back to what had taken his attention away in the first place.
Lesson #2: Younger son began playing ‘real’ hockey – not sure of his age, but the jersey came down to his knees and the tops of his skates were mid-calf. I watched from the stands. As the team bumbled about the puck, I got caught up in the action – which was all mid-ice. Finally the puck squirted through the melee and over the opposing team’s blue line.
“Go to net, son. Go to net.” I shrieked.
On the ice, my boy – 70 feet away on the ice and behind the glass (just to give you an idea of my “arena” voice) – raised his visor and shouted: “Coach says I’m defense and to stay on the blue line.” Then he dropped his visor and TCB.
Lifelong learning. You gotta love it.