Tuesday, June 29, 2010

With Apologies to my Eight-Year Old Son

On Sunday evening, I got the lawn mower out as my wife had asked me to mow the front yard. (Yes. She asked. Like I ever think of these things.) As I was moving the mower around from the back yard to the front, I noted that one of my kid’s Nerf guns was laying in the back year. I knew the boys had played with it on Friday when my younger son, Christopher, had a friend over for a play date. On Saturday, we’d had a brief, torrential downpour that had taken out trees in our neighborhood. I wasn’t happy.

“Christopher,” I called out as I entered the house. “Get down here.”

Christopher came down the stairs and I explained the situation. “Dad, that’s Andrew’s gun,” he protested, blaming his older brother. My wife joined in my disciplining, sending our little guy out pick up his stuff.

It wasn’t the first incident of the day for him. My younger sister and her family went to the beach on Sunday, staying at my parents’ trailer at the beach. On their previous trip to the beach a month ago, she’d left her Wii game. My sons had played with the Wii while we were at the beach in mid-June. My sister called because she couldn’t find a couple of the games. She wanted to know what my little guy had done with them and could he remember where he put them.

I went out to the mow the lawn, doing a small bit of weeding as well. When I came back inside, my wife broke the news. Christopher didn’t leave the gun outside. Our older son, Andrew did. Later that night, my sister called. She realized that the people who’d been there the week between her visit and ours had also used the Wii. She called them and they told her where the game could be found

I felt bad about accusing my younger son. I admit that the evidence I had was only circumstantial. However, I was acting on past history. My younger son always leaves things outside and has been told repeatedly to put things away. If something is wrong or out of place, he’s the usual culprit.

Still, I’d been wrong. He hadn’t done it this time. I apologized immediately. He told me it was okay. He handled it well.

I, on the other hand, didn’t handle it well.

I’ll have to think the next time before I jump to conclusions in my house.

Do you have the same issue sometimes? If something goes wrong in your house, do you automatically jump to conclusions about which of your children is guilty?

As for me, I’ll jump more slowly next time.

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