Lessons learned from Corvettes and Luggage Carts

A couple months ago, I sat down, finally, with a mountain of clean laundry to fold.  I turned on day time tv which I generally think is full of trash,  but found "Dr. Phil".  I like Dr. Phil.  I'd like to ask him a few questions myself, but that is a different post...

He was talking to parents with troubled teens, just like he is on almost every show.  I don't remember what the show was specifically about, but he said something that really stuck with me.  He talked about how his son had really wanted a fast, fancy sports car for his 16th birthday.  A corvette, or something equivalent to it, and his son was all excited about the horsepower and torque the car would produce.  Dr. Phil must have been pretty wealthy by then because he wasn't concerned about the price but rather the power the car had.  He said he wouldn't buy the car for his son because we shouldn't place our kids in dangerous situations that they don't have the experience to predict the outcome.  We shouldn't expect our kids to respond to life's challenges based on our life experiences.  They haven't lived as long and learned as much as we have.

Makes sense.

Logical but often forgotten.

I think quite often I expect different behaviors from my children than I see because that is how a grown up would react but I forget to take the time to teach them the lesson that would lead to the appropriate response.

A month ago, I took all four of my kids and I traveled across the country with them.  By myself. (sucker).  We had a 5 hour flight.  A 2 hour layover.  A 2 hour flight.  And then a 2 hour drive.  We left at 8 am pst and arrived at 1:00 am est.  It was a long day.  I had: a 10 year old, 7 year old, 4 year old, 2 month old, 4 backpacks, 4 car seats, 7 suitcases, a stroller, a baby front carrier and a partridge in a pear tree.  Once the 2 hour flight landed, I had to get a rental car and load all of us, and our luggage, up and drive the remaining 2 hours, by myself (super sucker).  I figured I could carry Bubbles in the pouch while pushing a luggage cart with half of the suitcases, Buster could push the other luggage cart and Dodger could push Rascal in the stroller.  And all of us could carry a backpack.  In order to test my theory, when my sidekick, nervously, dropped us off at the airport, we "practiced".  I'm sure we were a sight,  all of us loaded down and my Sidekick holding his breath walking next to us, empty handed.

As Buster pushed his (heavy) luggage cart up a sidewalk ramp, he took it at a diagonal.  Now, any adult knows that if you take a 3 wheeled cart (1 wheel in the front, 2 in the back) up a ramp at a diagonal, you will not get favorable results.  So, when the entire cart tipped over and my Sidekick saw possible future events displayed before him, he was NOT happy.  We were loaded down and I couldn't put the cart back together with a baby strapped to my chest.  So, in the tense chaos, as we were reloading, I took a breath, lest it happened again while I was alone with them.  I said, "Buster, look at the wheels.  If you take the triangle pattern wheels at a diagonal, it will loose it's balance and tip.  You need to go straight, head on, up the ramp."

He looked at me, wide eyed, with a new understanding in his eyes, and said, "oh and that's different from my bike.  I have to go at a diagonal on my bike up a curb so I don't loose balance and fall."

And thus it is Dr. Phil.  We expected Buster to handle the adult situation based on our experience but he had not yet learned the lessons he needed to succeed.  He used the limited experiences he'd had in his young life which didn't get accurate results.

This was a luggage cart, not a dangerous situation, but the lesson is still the same.

So, as you place your kids in new situations, take a minute to look at it from their perspective and see if they have the skills they need to succeed.  Because one day, that luggage cart could be a corvette.

Whaddya think?

1 comment:

  1. Well written as always, with good insight!