I have strict rule in the living room–no playing with balls. This rule comes primarily from a single concern. I think one day the kids will be throwing those hard little balls that they get from a gum ball type machine and will break the TV. Therefore, the living room is a ball free environment.
Well, the other day I was walking up our stairs and I heard the following conversation from two of my children.
(D is for Daughter & S is for Son)
D: “No playing with a ball in the living room. You might break the TV.”
S: “We can play ball in the living room.”
D: “No we can’t. Daddy says we can’t play with balls here.”
He then said words that struck terror into my heart and if your parent it will strike fear into you.
S: “Of course we can play ball in the living room. As long as daddy and mommy aren’t looking.”
My first thoughts were, “Holy $%@!. Where did he get that from?”
These words caused fear in my heart not because of my broken TV prophecy. I’m afraid one day he’s going to take that attitude and apply it to the rules of crossing the street or playing with fire.
I have to admit, I am scared that this mindset is going to get him seriosuly hurt.
My next thought, which I did not act on, was, “I need to have a come to Jesus moment with this boy and put the fear of God into him for what he just said.”
I realized that this would have been counterproductive. Not becuase I lack the ability to do so, but because I want him to vocalize those thoughts he has swirling around in his head. I want him to randomly spout off so that I can know what is going on inside of him. Had I put the fear of God into him, I would have began the process of killing that thing in him that vocalizes these thoughts.
So, a week later I talked (very harshly) to him about this “I can do whatever I want, as long as the parents aren’t looking” mentality when I saw him manifest it in some other action.
But, here’s the rub.
We all do this… don’t we? To a certain extent there is something inside of us that thinks we can get away with things. There is a certain part of us that knows what the right thing to is but thinks we can get away with it.
Maybe my biggest concern is that I inadvertently taught this to him? (See here for my traffic ticket incident).