Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday Drivers

Yup, back on the driving thing again.

Several times during the past few weeks I have gotten behind super slow drivers. I'm not talking about someone going the speed limit and me wanting to go faster than the speed limit. I'm talking about drivers who drive under the speed limit. In some cases, well under.

I'm not here to write about how much they drive me crazy and how much I wish they'd put the pedal to the metal.

Instead, these situations have made me think of something else: What must it be like to have a life where it is not necessary to drive fast?

My life has become a hectic mess. With three kids, a regular job, and a DJ business, I feel like I am constantly on the move. Time is precious to me and I want to get where I need to go FAST. So yes, I exceed the speed limit a bit when I can. If not, then I'm going the limit. No exceptions. I want to get where I am going as quickly as I can. Sure it's only a few minutes here and a few minutes there but those minutes are precious to me. Especially when you are trying to transport kids to skating lessons, Cub Scouts, piano lesson, school, friends' houses, etc., there is a schedule to be kept!

So I just can't help but wonder what it must feel like to not feel the urge to drive fast. To just drive and enjoy it. Take in the scenery. No rush at all. No slave to the clock. It must be truly wonderful. It also must be something that regular people like myself never get to experience.

Don't get mad at those elderly drivers slowing you down. Get jealous. They have no reason to go fast. They can take their time and enjoy their drive. Okay, I take it back, you can get mad. But also be jealous.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Parental Advice Needed: Lying

I'm a teacher and one of the most important things my students learn about me is that I despise lying. If you are going to do something wrong, fine, you're human...but fess up to it and accept your punishment. It is something I feel VERY strongly about.

So you can imagine my fury when I discovered that my 4-year old son has quickly become a chronic liar.

It all started in the bathroom, believe it or not. Our first floor bathroom is in desperate need of a makeover. But it's just something we haven't gotten around to yet. Since we moved here two years ago, we have had more pressing needs around the home.

About two weeks ago, we noticed that some of the wallpaper in the bathroom was ripping. At first we thought it was accidental or normal wear-and-tear from people brushing against it. But then we noticed that it started peeling and ripping in hard-to-get-to places. We immediately accused our two-year-old daughter of the crime. She was quick to admit to it, although she is still learning how to speak correctly.

But despite our yelling and our punishments, we kept on finding new rips in the wallpaper. Now mind you, we totally plan on getting rid of all the wallpaper anyway, but until we are ready, we'd rather have it intact and looking decent. So it was really making my wife and I angry.

As it continued to happen we kept on blaming our daughter. She would say she didn't do it but this is the same girl who blamed Dora the Explorer for writing all over our carpet in marker about a month ago (the "doodle" was fourteen feet long, I measured). It was driving us nuts. But what bothered us was that she kept saying she didn't do it. We asked our sons if they knew anything about it. They denied doing it or knowing how it happened.

We thought our 2-year old learned how to lie early. Then, my wife started keeping tabs. Three days ago, she was in the bathroom when my 4-year-old son walked in needing to use the facilities. My wife was sure to note the wallpaper situation. When he left the bathroom, there was a huge tear in the wallpaper.

Proof. Evidence. Caught red-handed.

Before we could confront our son, we were in shock. We couldn't believe he had been lying to us. Worse yet, we couldn't believe he was letting his poor little sister take the blame and get punished.

We called him over and asked him if he knew how the wallpaper was torn. He claimed he didn't do it. Then my wife explained that she checked right before he used the bathroom and when he came out, it was ripped. After a few seconds delay, he responded that he "accidentally" ripped it. When we asked about all the other rips, after some prodding, he admitted that he did most of those too.

I was enraged. I want my kids to be raised as HONEST people. How could this have happened? When did he learn to lie? How could he be that mean to let his little sister get punished for all the bad things HE did? I felt terrible too. I felt so guilty for blaming my daughter. She tried to tell us it wasn't her, but we didn't believe her. We thought our 4-year-old son had more sense to do something so stupid and then lie about it.

That was three days ago. In just the few days since, we have caught him in two other lies. Again, it took prodding, but he finally admitted to it. I don't know what to do with him. To start this at such an early age to me is astonishing and disturbing. Now the question is, what do we do?

We gave him several punishments: no tv for three days, no video games for three days, no lightsaber battles, etc. But to be honest, he doesn't seem all that rattled by being punished. He doesn't quite seem to understand yet. So what do we do? How do I make a four-year-old kid understand that lying is bad?

I'm beginning to wonder now about the carpet...