but if it is broken… by all means tell an adult!

“AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! There’s blood on my foot!!!!” screams Speed Police running to her father.

Never a good cry for help. …. Sure enough, the girl was leaving blood footprints as she ran to get help. It wasn’t worth a trip to the E.R. In fact, the wound was actually very small, once the blood was wiped away. Our dad, Safety Boy, acting with speed made his way to the scene of what was soon to be known as the “crime”.

Unbeknownst to us, it all started with a group of teenage boys, Christmas Break, air-soft guns and a little old playhouse.

I mean… the poor thing was just asking to be shot.
… don’t you think?!

Well the boys took turns shooting that play-house (or the people in it – depending upon your perspective) as well as just about everything in the yard. And… who knew the house had glass windows … or that air soft pellets could break a window?  Well, apparently they can – and did.

TTO, a bit nervous about the breakage tried his darndest to fix the problem. True to teen form, he didn’t use the most sound reasoning in his approach. He thought that kicking the window in would knock all the glass out and his error would be mended. Of course, bashing the (double-paned!) window didn’t do anything but make the mess worse.  He did his best to clean it up … then chose to keep the issue to himself.

Mistake #1.

And, as is always the case (or at least I hope it always is the case) the kid gets caught. The catching started with his sister’s bloody foot. The next clue was the bashed in window frame. Safety Boy thought a couple of 8-year-olds throwing rocks might have been the culprits… but no confession in that camp. The final clue revealed itself in …

is that a pearl?… No. It’s one of the gazilloin air soft bb’s shot around our yard.

Fire of frustration ignited in the teen’s father, as he questions… Who breaks a window, doesn’t clean up the mess and doesn’t tell anyone?!
I’m with TTO, transporting him and a friend to the driving range. I haven’t a clue what’s going on until I call to check in.
“What’s up?” I ask Safety Boy, noticing some tension in my man’s voice.
“Well… one of your daughters has an injured foot.”
“What happened?”
“She cut her foot on the glass from a broken window in the playhouse. A broken window, I might add, that looks intentional… and it wasn’t Slow Walker… or a girl…”
Instantly, I feel bad for TTO.

After finishing the conversation, I turn to the kid in the back of my car.
“Do you know anything about a broken window in the back yard.”
The color drains a bit from his face. He and his friends had shot the house…. not sure if they broke window… yadda, yadda, yadda … ends up saying after my prodding questions, “It’s ALL my fault. Yeah … tell him I was even throwing rocks like they were grenades.” (which they weren’t… drama was flaring)

I could tell he was scared. Thus entered Mistake #2.

… Tell the truth at the onset… don’t wait to be asked. Then tell the whole truth (not most, but all) when asked. The truth? The breakage was an accident – not intentional. His efforts to clean the mess were pitiful… but well meaning. He should have come to us right after the accident happened.

I drop the kids off. TTO is seeking asylum anywhere – hoping he won’t ever have to go back home to receive the pending wrath.

When I get home, Safety Boy was diligently cleaning and working on getting the pane and glass out of the playhouse and into the trash. As we’re “discussing” the lack of … so many things in the culprits handling of the incident, some anger started to flare. Frustrated, Safety Boy reaches for a piece of glass, pulls upward and swissssshhh… the hand slips, hits the piece above, slicees his finger and flings blood everywhere.

Not good. Sooooo not good. Four hours in the emergency room not good.

Seven stitches not good.

Enter potential Mistake #3
A parent, in the heat of the moment, might assume a typical teen should have exhibited a particular mature behavior by doing the right thing in a potentially damming situation.

Thankfully 4 hours at the emergency room, tempered the temper and by the time all the involved parties reunited, the “Lecture of a Lifetime” (as TTO had told his friend was headed his way) had been dialed down to a teachable moment.

Sometimes it is so incredibly tempting to believe that an almost 6 foot young teen could make discerning decisions, but the truth is… the kid couldn’t get past the panic (the one where your sure your father is going to kill you… or in other cases where you think you’ll be embarrassed in front of your friends, or where you so desperately want to be accepted by friends, or ….) to think and act wisely. There are so many situations where the brain cells just aren’t firing … and boy was this one of them.

I’m so thankful Safety Boy morphed into Dialed Down Dad and met the kid in the appropriate spot. A place where the lecture took place, but in a mild and understanding way. At this precarious point in the father/son relationship – where son thinks dad is way to hard on him and where dad is so often disappointed at the lame choices, the two of them met each other respectfully.

As parents, it’s a hard road to hoe… especially on your first child. I’m certain by the time we get to Future Hoarder of America we will have a much wiser, tempered approach. So, I can’t believe I’m happy for a $100 trip to the Emergency Room, but I think I am. Those several hours helped bring perspective.

Maybe that’s a big part… taking some time in those heated situations. Time to think. Time to ask for guidance. Maybe even time to seek wisdom … but for sure time to let the emotions take
a back seat where they should be more often than not. Anyway … what a way to ring in 2011. … Actually – what a great way to ring in the year. I’m hoping these two guys of mine will be able to talk to each other more and more as the kid inevitable matures.

Now for the window…

Too bad those boys didn’t reach for the girls and my favorite product.
I picked orange over tie-dye duct tape as the quick fix before the real fix.
Don’t those boys know duct tape is the answer to every problem?!!

Thanks for walking the road with me.


Tune in Wednesday as we talk about January’s task: Manners and Money

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