Sunday, November 8, 2015

Do You Have a Flashlight?

"Mommy! Mommy! Drew broke Papa's flashlight! It's completely broken! It won't even turn on! EVER AGAIN!" my oldest announced as he ran into the kitchen. He repeated this exact phrase three times without breathing before I could interject. Drew followed sullenly with his head hung low. 

"I...didn't...mean...to...break...it!" he said, finally erupting into sobs.
"Okay buddy. I know it was an accident. Give me a hug - accidents happen."
He sat on my lap on the kitchen floor until the sobs began to ebb and his breathing returned to normal.
"I know it was an accident but you still need to replace Papa's flashlight. You can work toward that by helping me do some extra work around the house. What would you like to do?"
This, apparently, was his worst nightmare. The sobs returned along with wails of despair. "I...don't...want...to...do...any...more...work," he screamed. "That make me so sad!"
"I know, bud. But when you break something, you have to fix it or replace it. You can do it. You are a hard worker," I said, hoping that at some level he would begin to live up to that character trait.

Eventually, he settled down enough to set the table. Minutes later, my dad popped in to see us. I saw Drew pull him aside and perked up my ears. 
"Excuse me, Papa."
"Yes, Drew."
"Do you have an iPhone?"
"Umm, yeah..."
"Well, you already have a flashlight then!" He smiled to himself and went back to setting the table. 
My dad looked at me with a question in his eyes. 
"He's saying that because he broke your flashlight. He's trying to figure out how to get out of buying a replacement."
"Wow, that was really smart!" my dad said over Drew's renewed tears. "Very creative problem solving!"

I love that my dad saw that good in what Drew was doing. I saw it as a way to get out of work (which it absolutely was...) but it was still smart. In his mind, his papa needed a flashlight. As long as he had one, the problem was solved. But my husband and I still have the hard work of teaching him to care for other people's things. We have to teach him that there are consequences to his actions. Sometimes I wish I could take the easy way and let Drew off the hook. The tears alone are enough to weaken my resolve on a good day. But if I do, he will not be the man I know he can be. 

Do your kids ever tempt you to take the easy way out? How can you stay strong about all you have to teach them when they do?

2 comments:

  1. Here a nice case study. Anyone can gets a effective solving system. Thanks for share.

    ReplyDelete

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