PostHeaderIcon How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Crash

By Jael Strong

It’s inevitable. I used to get sick worrying about it. Whenever Jackson was out of my sight, I would wonder, “What is getting destroyed now?” Now, though, I am enlightened. After all, has all of that worry averted the small disasters that cling so closely to him wherever he goes?

The most recent addition to the wreckage that follows my gregarious twelve-year-old is the front window. He and his fellow twelve-year-old friend decided after the most recent snow storm that, rather than throw snowballs at one another, they would throw snowballs at my house. Five minutes after I had sat down to relax on that snowy Friday evening, I heard a crash and jumped from my seat to find the shattered remains of the window all over the floor.

I couldn’t have seen this coming. One doesn’t think that they have to say, “Don’t have a snowball fight with the house!” Of course, there are many things I could have said over the years that would have saved us some grief if I had only used my powers of prediction. “Don’t throw darts after your friend blindfolds you and spins you in circles!” is one of them. Or, “Don’t try to hang from the fan in your bedroom. You really can’t fly around like they do on cartoons” would have been great, if I only I had known. But since I haven’t been able to foretell these catastrophes, I’ve had to learn to deal in different ways. If you have a similar wrecking ball at home, maybe the following will help.

What to do

Since it’s impossible to foresee what kind of mischief our children will get into, we have to cope in some way. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t worry about it until it happens! If it’s going to happen anyway, why worry about it? Deal with the events on an individual basis.
  • Stress accountability. With all of that snow, my son had plenty of opportunity to make a few extra dollars shoveling walks. He had that window paid for in no time, and I like to think he learned that when we break something we pay for it.
  • Respect your belongings and the belongings of others. Hopefully, your good example will begin to rub off.
  • Remember your own youth. I remember distinctly setting fire to flammables in the bathroom sink, throwing a basketball in the house, “skateboarding” in the basement. I did plenty of damage as a child, so maybe I should cut him some slack.
  • Don’t harp on past accidents. Aren’t you glad that the government doesn’t send you a weekly reminder of that fender bender you had in May of 2004? We like to move on from our mistakes and our children deserve that right as well. If we dwell on these types of blunders, our children tend to take them on as part of their identity and then the problem becomes more deeply rooted.

We all hope that as our children grow up they will become responsible, happy adults. No body is perfect. Just remember the next time a snowball comes crashing through your window, you love your kid; you hate that snowball.

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