When our children are born, we envision a life of molding and shaping these small, wonderful creatures into future Nobel Peace Prize winners, champion athletes, and brilliant philosophers. We will bestow upon them all our accumulated life experience and insights and they will be eager receptacles of our knowledge.
Yeah, and then day two arrives.
The thing is, no one ever tells you that your child will enter this world with a fully formed personality. It might take a while for you as the parent to figure it out, but eventually your beautiful little baby is going to mold you, teach you, and alter your perception of the universe. And, they’ll continue to do so well into adulthood.Your beautiful baby is going to mold you, teach you, & alter your perception of the universe. Click To Tweet
Need proof? I present to you, Exhibit A: the claw machine.
Not so long ago, circa 2001, I found myself at Saturday morning youth bowling. Ten year old son Jimmy had just finished his third game and as we were packing up to leave he inquired;
“Hey mom, can I have two quarters?”
“I’m gonna get one of the stuffed animals outta the claw machine.”
We all know that these glass encased machines, full of temptation and futility, are rigged. No one ever manages to pick up the colorful treasure, precariously dangle the object over all the other toys, swing the claw across the cube, and successfully deposit your prize into the drop box. Oh, you can get close, but there’s always that “Aww…” moment as you almost make it to the finish, but the claw somehow, without warning, loses its grip.
“Come on Hon, those things are a waste of money.”
“Pleeeese Mom? I saw one I know I can get.”
“Alright, but just this once, just to show you that no one ever wins with those machines.”
There it was, the “Mom moment.” Oh, you know the moment. That moment when words like these come out of your mouth:
“Don’t come running to me when your arm falls off.”
“Your face is going to freeze that way.”
“If you swallow that gum it will grow in your stomach.”Mom Moment = when this comes out of your mouth: Don’t come running to me when your arm falls off. Click To Tweet
I reluctantly handed over the two quarters. He’ll just have to figure it out, I thought. He’ll be disappointed, but he’ll see that sometimes things are not as easy as they look.
A few minutes later Jimmy returned. What I expected was a pouty, “I hate it when you’re right,” ten-year-old. Instead, I was confronted by a grinning little boy carrying this:
Yeah, mama ate a bit of crow that day. I also came face-to-face with the reality that our children are our best teachers.
So, here’s the thing: when I’m struggling to make a decision or I need advice, I know I can always rely on the claw for insight. The Wisdom of the Claw includes these gems:
- Kids are funny. They’ll teach you way more lessons than you’ll teach them.
- “I told you so” rarely works out.
- Life is full of unexpected surprises.
- Don’t be a know-it-all; it will bite you in the ass.
- Believe that all things are possible.
- It’s often better to be lucky than good.
- Never under-estimate your children.
In case you were wondering about that picture of the crab, it’s resting on the dashboard of my car. That’s where Jimmy deposited it back on the day he freed it from its glass prison. Mr. Crab has been perched under the front window ever since. The bright green color also helps me find the car in a parking lot; up here in the middle-aged cheap seats we tend to lose our vehicles, but that’s a whole other story. Isn’t it crazy that the thing hasn’t faded in over a decade?
What are some of the life lessons you’ve been taught by a child?