OK, parents. It’s test time. Sharpen those Number 2 pencils, roll up your sleeves and, as always, please remember to silence your cell phones so as not to disturb the other test takers.
Actually, ignore all that. This test has only one question and it is multiple choice. Here it is:
QUESTION: Just before bedtime, your daughter calls you into her room. She is standing by her window with a tissue in hand. She had seen a big, crawly bug with lots of legs on her wall. Being the kind of “do it yourself” kid that she is, she grabbed a tissue and chased it across the wall until finally losing it into some opening in the window sill. What do you do in this situation?
CHOICE A: You grab a cross-bow, flame-thrower and some nuclear bug spray that has been banned in 50 countries because of its toxicity -- or at least just a rolled-up magazine -- and charge into the room to root out the little monster. You’re a loving, protective parent and you want your child to know she can always depend on you for help in a time of need. You lift the shade, shift furniture aside and go after that sucker with a “never say die” attitude and you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT STOP until you carry that menace’s crushed, green innards-spewing body out in an insect-sized body bag (or at least a tissue). Peace will have been restored to the land and your child will be reminded that you would move heaven and earth to help them out of a sticky situation. You can go to bed polishing that “Best Parent Ever” trophy knowing that you have once more solidified your lock on that title. You rock, dude.
CHOICE B: You tell your daughter to go sleep on the floor in her brother’s room. After all, you want to teach your child that very few situations necessitate violence. In most situations, she can avoid conflict altogether by simply removing herself from them. Like us humans, insects were placed here on this earth by some higher power. Insects have no more or less right to enjoy the planet than we do. We must all simply learn to co-exist. After tucking your daughter in on the floor of her brother’s room, you light a candle and meditate on the idea that tonight’s lesson imbued in your daughter a greater love and respect for all of God’s creatures. Namaste.
CHOICE C: You tell your daughter to forget it and go to bed. Oh, and it would probably be a good idea for her not to sleep with her mouth open.
So those are your choices. Where did you net out?
We went with Choice C.
Have to give my wife credit for the “don’t sleep with your mouth open” line. It got the desired response from my daughter – a shriek of disgust followed by a playful retort – “And Crappy Holidays to you too!”
The lesson in Choice C is that there doesn’t need to be a lesson in everything. We try not to sweat the small stuff or to take ourselves too seriously.