You know, sometimes there are lessons in life that we try to teach our children, and hope that they learn them in order to become better people. Each child has different struggles (adopted or not), and different lessons they need to learn. Yet, sometimes, these lessons are here to teach us the same thing.
Part of "active parenting" is to know your children's needs, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. And when "learning moments" present themselves, you take full advantage of them to push your learning agenda on them!
Much like the whole "don't cross the road without looking unless you want to get hit by a car like our cat Nemo!", or the ever so popular "Do you remember what happened to Anakin Skywalker when he started following the darkside? Even Yoda knew the dangers of fear and how it was the cousin to jealousy!"
However, sometimes, life has a funny way of making sure we are following the same standards we lay out for our children. Because goodness knows, children can tell when you are saying one thing, but doing another...
File this one a lesson learned under "The Material Things Don't Matter" chapter. :-)
dear daughter #1 having a birthday dinner with the Red Plate
Many years ago, good friends of ours had a special red plate - appropriately called "The Red Plate" which had the words "Today you are Special" painted across it made by the (wait for it) "The Red Plate Company".
This pate was dragged out on every birthday, or special milestone in the families history. First lost tooth, first swimming lesson, first A on a test, etc...
For some reason, this Red Plate because an object of my wifes obsession. After much looking, I was able to find an "authentic" "Red Plate" from "The Red Plate Company - 1979". Now, this sucker cost A-LOT of money. Well, I mean, A-LOT of money for a plate (or a small plane)... but thats besides the point!
If there is one thing I've learned about my wifes obsessions, is that unless it is going to cause me bodily harm, I should just go along with it... its far easier and better if I am make a preemptive strike on these types of things, otherwise, we may have wound up with a Red Plate, and a Red Mug, and Red Fork, etc. etc. etc...
So I find this Red Plate (even though I didn't "get it"), and surprised her with it as a gift!
- +10 to my brownie points for doing something good that day!
- -999 for complaining about how expensive it was tho!
And true to form, this Red Plate became a fixture in our house.
- Lost Teeth.
- Passed Exams.
- Swimming Lessons.
- 1st Sleep Away Camp.
- It even accompanied us on Picnics, restaurant trips (we would sneak it in, and pass it to the cooking staff to serve the food on), and maybe even made a few road trips with us...
And to be honest, the 1st time my lovely Wife served me my Birthday meal on it, all my jaded feelings towards this silly Red Plate disappeared! And you really DID feel special eating off it!
Well, last night, the Red Plate was being washed by the boys while we were all cleaning up...
... anyone want to guess where this is going?
Voice from Heaven (VfH): Did you mean it?
Me: Mean what?
VfH: Did you mean it when you said Material Things in this world don't matter?
Me: Uh-oh. Good? Why?
VfH: Waaaaaaait for it.... *CRASH*
Wife: What did you boys break?!
Boys: Uh... nothing?
Wife: THAT plate?! You broke THE SPECIAL PLATE!?!?! Oh you are in SO much trouble!
Me: Hey, Voice, I meant it... but maybe you should talk to my wife.
VfH: Um, no. Thats you're job now.
VfH: Not Cowardice, just Wisdom.
Aaaaah, well. What can ya do? Our Dear Sons were goofing off while stacking the dishes and putting them all away... now, their Mother DID tell them to stop goofing off... apparently, she did not tell them loudly enough. In the end though, it came back down to the importance we place on material things - and even how something simple and small, can become far more important than it should be.
Now, really, I don't mind them breaking the plate as much as I did their reactions.
- The eldest son blamed the youngest, while the youngest blamed the eldest.
- The eldest son apparently would not move out of the way for the younger to put the plate away properly.
- While the eldest complained that the younger did not ask him to move (apparently he just made a "wwaahahaa naaagrabbbb" sound - which IS how he asks people to move sometimes).
At any rate, after they were in bed, we decided this was in fact one of those learning moments. So I went and talked with the boys...
Me: So, what lesson do you think Mom and Dad want you to learn from the plate breaking?
Son #2: That my brother should have moved out of the way! *sob*
Me: Uh, no. :-) Maybe something along the lines of ... (cue Full House music and inspirational talk about doing the "right thing")
I guess there is still some learning to do... for all of us.
Now, if you will all excuse me, I have to go spend some time on eBay...