Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Howtoons, Keeping My Word, and Standing My Ground
We got this great book for anyone with kids ages 6 and up called Howtoons. It's a comic book, or graphic novel, with all sorts of projects and ideas that are informative and fun for kids and adults, alike. Not only is it a fun to read, but the gadgets they describe are very doable. One of them was a marshmallow shooter made of plastic piping. It is made of PVC piping and shoots mini-marshmallows, and naturally when our kids saw it, they wanted one. Being the typical parent who is busy all the time and can't always think about his responses, of course I said we could make it, and left it at that.
Kids, however, have a way of remembering these declarations, and I've been reminded on a few occasions about my pledge. Truth be told, I'm a huge believer in keeping your word to your kids. Even for little things like a promise to read a story or a piece of candy, things that the kids themselves forget about, or at least "seem" to forget about, I think that if you as a parent remember it, then you should do everything possible to keep your word. Many times I've had it where the kids forgot it and I was told to do the same, and it just makes me feel like crap, besides setting a bad example.
So be true to your word is one of our mantra, one of many. I knew I could have kept putting off our kid's requests for the marshmallow shooter until it was long forgotten, but is that the answer? My parents made a living of breaking their word to us, and it doesn't bode well for building trust, not to mention instilling your kids with a sense of honoring their word.
Yesterday we were out in Norwich and within range of one of my favorite hardware stores, Fogg's. My old buddy Rhett wasn't there, but I got a lot of help from Walter. I called earlier to inquire about the price of 1/2 inch PVC piping, and it turns out to be a lot cheaper than I thought. Actually, KB told me it was pretty cheap, so I had some idea. I made the mistake of asking for a lot more than I needed because I misread the instructions, thinking the shooters required feet, instead of inches. I asked for 50 feet or piping (this is nothing for a contractor), when in fact I needed 50 inches. How embarassing, though Walter was cool, and was perhaps even inspired to make his own shooter for his kids.
Just for the record, it was embarassing to tell the guys that I was buying the piping to make a marshmallow shooter for my kids. On the surface I thought was being a real man by buying building supplies, and instead, I'm doing crafts for my kids. Then again, it takes a real man to be a father to his kids.
So the drama doesn't end there. The shooters were very easy to make, all it took was a hacksaw. We cleaned out the shards and washed out the pieces, then the kids had a blast shooting marshmallows around the house. They loved them, and as any could foresee, it had the makings of a housecleaning disaster-marshmallows lost in various nooks and crevices about the house, just waiting for the ants to find them come summer.
I made a declaration-they can shoot the marshmallows all they wanted outside, but if they were going to do it outside, then they must keep track of the marshmallow, and no new marshmallows until the old one is brought back and disposed of properly. Sure enough, one of them lost their marshmallow, and we spent half an hour looking for it with no luck. He asked for another one, and it would have been easy enough to just give it to him, but I stood my ground and said no, he had to find the other one.
It was sort of mean, but I felt like I had to set a proper precedent. Unfortunately, the movement lost steam and they put their shooters away for other things, and I felt bad for that, but I also know that my wife would have put me in the dungeon if we'd scattered marshmallows all over.
As an epilogue to this story, this morning I saw Misty, our cat, playing with something and it turned out to be the missing marshmallow, so happy days are here again.
Until the next time, thanks for reading.