Pinball

I wrote this post two years ago, but today found myself thinking on many of the same things. As such, I have decided to call it in from the bullpen:

Anyone that knows me understands that I can find an altercation anywhere I go. Today, it was at Celebration Station. She really didn’t have to be as foolish as she was, but some grown woman kept shouting profane language as she was losing at pinball. I shouted, “there are kids in here.” Her response? “I’m losing at pinball.” Seriously? I can’t let my toddler be exposed to such activity and crude language. “How about you find a better place to do it, curse that is. Let’s remember you are in a public place, one made for children.” She looked at me amazed. I’m not sure why she was amazed, either because I had scolded her or because she really didn’t understand her fault. Regardless, she needed to know I was not only there to enjoy the day with my son, but to do it as I saw fit.

A few days ago, I was watering my plants and talking with a neighbor while Karsten was eating his dinner on the porch. I moved the garden hose from one plant to another. Shortly after moving it, Karsten got up from behind me while I was talking to our neighbor and began to move the garden hose again. I told him that the hose didn’t need to be moved and it was fine where it was. He looked up, with a confused, frustrated, and rejected face and exclaimed, “I want to help you!” It floored me. My fault as a parent had never been so apparent as it had at that moment.

Since he has been able to produce basic communication skills, I have pushed him to help myself and others. He will often follow me around while I complete tedious tasks around the house with his tool chest or some other item, simply because he believes in his heart he is helping. What I had done by responding to my son in such a flippant and crude manner was crushed everything we had worked together for. I quickly tried to recover and tell him he could move the hose wherever he wanted. It was too late.

I needed him back. We went to Celebration Station today, just the two of us to reconcile our relationship. The lady playing pinball wasn’t going to stop this father and son tandem of having a day to remember, that’s why I told her what I did. I need to be more apt to listening to my son’s needs, both verbally and defensively from the mouths of others. While I was proud I stood up for him today, it doesn’t take away my mistake from last week. However, I have found that I become the most foolish when I fail to admit I am a fool. I would also like to believe that in doing so I am able to find wisdom in my experiences and become a better father in turn. Proverbs 12:18 states, “Wreckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Karsten walked out of Celebration Station with a new pirate flag and a father that learned a valuable lesson.

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by Jonathan Atchley

2014-11-15 19.13.02-1