Things can be going along exactly to my plan, and then boom. A fresh cool glass of milk is spilled at the table. The kind of spill that reaches the center leaf and drips through the cracks of the wood. Boom. And we were just sitting down to the just plated dinner.
The spill isn’t my fault. I’m not going to say it’s been years since I spilled milk but longer than I can really remember. This is my pre-schooler’s fault. I told you this would happen. I could see it coming, and he put his cup right in the line of his serving arm. AAAAAAaaaaaah!
I can take this in two directions: 1. Get pissed. Angrily grab a towel and rapidly mop. 2. Calmly wet a towel and involve my son in the cleanup.
A few years ago option number one would easily have taken rank. Now a days, I see the value in how situations are handled, rather than trying to have the situation go the way I envision. Mistakes and blunders are going to happen as long as I’m living, but I expect perfection. That’s part of my problem. And things get real tense when I expect my pre-school-aged son to perform at perfection.
The other day I asked him to come in for dinner. He was just finishing up with his first ever successful pedal ride on a two-wheeler with training wheels. He stepped in the front door, thought about dinner and proceeded to head back out toward the bike.
How could I blame him? I had as much pride for him as he was wearing on his sleeve. I stepped away to ask for guidance on how to handle the situation. When I returned and told him it was still time to head in, he was climbing aboard the saddle. He’s what you call “strong willed.” I could see this was going to be a battle, so I backed off and reminded him to at least wear a helmet.
He stormed out after ripping the helmet out of my hands in a I’ll-show-you-action known so well to parents whose kids start thinking dad doesn’t know anything. I felt that he was going to have a fall, but there was nothing I could do.
My wife went out to coax him in the house when before I knew it I heard the bloody scream. He was sitting on the sidewalk in front of a tipped bike, and I could feel the rage rise in myself. He didn’t listen. His helmet wasn’t buckled. And now dinner is delayed. I could have raged.
What’s more effective, getting pissed and rushing my son into the house? Or waiting to compose myself to show compassion and love to my son in his time of need?
When I step back and look at the spilled milk or the scraped knee, what is the difference? Is there a difference beside one is white and one is red?
I find again that the situation has a much better outcome with myself and those around me when I ask God for help to focus on what is really important. A little spilled milk or a bloody knee is something that I get easily upset over. Why is this happening!? But if I display a Fatherly tone to the situation, the situation that I can’t really do anything about, what am I teaching my son?