So it’s Fall here in Missouri. It’s cloudy and the temperature is a crisp 50 degrees or so. My youngest son and I were in my truck on the way back from dropping my older son off at work, and he asked if we could roll down the windows. I declined, saying, “it’s a little too cold.” He gave me a look and replied, “It’s not cold!” So I opened all the windows.
After about 5 minutes, he looked at me and said, “Dad, you were right.” And we rolled the windows up again.
I am fairly confident that there is nothing profound or life-changing about this little exchange. We won’t remember it a week from now, and there are sure to be far bigger moments in the shaping of the character of this 6 year old boy.
Still, I couldn’t help feeling a little proud of him. One of his siblings might have rode the rest of the way home shivering rather than utter those humiliating words – “you were right!” And I couldn’t help but think of the times I have suffered in silence myself, even (especially) as an adult, simply because I preferred that to admitting I was wrong.
And then I thought some more. It’s very tempting for me to just make the decision and insist that the kids go along. After all, I’m the parent, I’m older, and I know best, right? But, as Burke said, “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” As much as I want to keep my children from painful experiences, they are human beings and, like the rest of us, they learn best from the test and not so much from being told. Maybe it’s a good idea for me to say, “Ok, let’s do it your way,” once in awhile.
It struck me, too, how calm the whole thing was. He disagreed, I complied, he changed his mind, and we continued down the road. No argument, no fractured friendship, no hurt feelings – and no irritation on his part about being proven wrong.
Again, I know this is just a small, insignificant moment in a day, but those moments add up. Here’s to more like that one.