Today I am going to take a step back from entertaining you with my “a whole lot a crazy Kelsey life”… the sunset with a splash of hurricane is going to take a back seat to a life lesson that has taught me way too much… 🙂
It’s called the “I shot the chandelier” approach. It’s so simple but will change your life. Go ahead… try me! I double dare you! OK… no more spin off’s, here is the main event: Thursday morning I was in the kitchen minding my own business and heard a crazy crash… the kind you instantly freeze and silently wait to hear if if there is “the cry” to follow. So I waited… I may have even been holding my breath. Nothing… so I quickly followed the noise to investigate.
I found my super adorable 7 year old sitting perfectly still on my pedestal in my master closet. He appeared somewhat pale and sat in pure silence. I observed the bow in his hands and the arrow still stuck in my chandelier. .. I did what any normal Mother would do and asked Carter if he shot my chandelier. I know what your thinking…. why ask the most obvious question on the planet right… and my answer… I have no idea. I can’t say I have ever dealt with this particular situation so I was caught a bit off guard. So it’s the only thing I could think to say.
But the reply is where the the lesson comes into play. He looked at me and as clear as day and said “I shot the chandelier but I didn’t mean to… I only pulled the bow back half way and since I only pulled it to 50% capacity I technically was aiming for your clothes.” I have been implementing the “5 second delay”… it’s really simple. If I feel my face get hot or my heart begin to pound out of my chest…I try… really try to step back… take a deep breath and repeat what I WAS going to say in my head and modify it… make it better.. refined and polished if you will. I am trying to do as little damage as possible with my words. So back to the scene of the the crime. I looked at my little guy and calmly but with all the confidence and love in the world gave him two options. “Carter… this is going to end one of two ways and you get the choose. You can either admit you shot the chandelier and we will both move on with life and have a great day or you can continue to justify why you didn’t mean to hit the chandelier and get your punishment. I know you’re a good boy and you didn’t think it through. You won’t be in any trouble and will still have time to catch the bus and tell your friends how you shot your bow and perfectly hit your target… my beautiful, bright, shiny, sparkly chandelier or you can make excuses for a mistake you made. But if any excuse is offered you will not be granted immunity and will have to face your crime.”
The rest of the story is exactly as you would assume. He said sorry… no disclaimer attached. Made the bus and we both had a great day. The arrow is still in my chandelier 20 feet high… too high to grab without fetching the ladder. And I don’t care enough to do anything about it. I will wait until the light bulb burns out and and knock them both out in one punch. The old replace light bulbs and don’t forget to grab your child’s arrow technique. I’ve moved on and so has he. But we both learned something that day… I learned that we all make stupid mistakes that we didn’t think through…. doesn’t mean we were trying to be bad just means we didn’t think it through.. or maybe the adrenaline and excitement briefly outweighed the consequences of “shooting the chandelier.” We can learn lessons without “paying a price.” Having said that I have already issued the get out of trouble free card for the chandelier incident and the next time he is trigger happy he will have to pay… because in life there are consequences. But there doesn’t always have to be. Love and forgiveness can outweigh justice and paying a debt. The trick is offering mercy but not missing the mark. And I am confident that we both hit a bullseye… Carter hit his target and I got to teach my baby Lyon that there are times when we just screw up… doesn’t mean we are bad just means we screwed up.
Sometimes I think we get lost in the WHY and miss the sorry. We are so busy justifying why we screwed up…why we did it but are not BAD. Good people make poor choices. The key is to learn from them. Own them people! Say I am sorry… no disclaimer needed. It waters down the sorry and the only thing heard is the but….. When I make make a mistake, I strive to own it…. I am not always this wise… but I try. When it stings I feel it and if I feel something I learn not to do it again faster. In our home we call it the I am sorry… BUT here is why I am not sorry. Stop at the I am sorry. It works. Promise.
My mom was and is the wisest woman I know. She taught all of her children myself included what “HOT” was. She would take a plate out of the dishwasher and ask us not to touch the HOT plate. Predictably we would touch the hot plate and would experience some discomfort. Thankfully the plate was only uncomfortable and did no real harm to us… thats where her genius comes in. She knew our curiosity would temporarily override our ability to listen but in her care and with no real consequence we would learn for ourselves that HOT was not a good thing and to avoid it.
That’s life… make a mistake and let it burn a little. Learn from it so you don’t have to experience any more pain than necessary. Sorry is truly magical and changes hearts… it brings out the best on both sides and lets your heart shine and override your ego or pride. Don’t dilute your apology with justification and reasons why it wasn’t your fault. Nobody likes water downed lemonade…. it tastes like dirty water. Own it… move on and when you get on the bus share your story and live to enjoy the bragging rights.
Full disclosure- I am too tired to take a picture of the chandelier so I just didn’t take one… even though it is less them 30 feet away from me right now. I didn’t lose my cool… and it felt good. I can make anything an analogy… and I am not making any progress on my goal of being more quiet. I am convinced my family takes turns answering my calls so they all don’t have to get the daily dose of Dr. Kelsey. Life is good. Really good.