Here’s the scene. It’s after church, I’ve been talking with friends for a little while, and it’s time to put eyes on my kids to make sure they’re behaving. They’re 9, 10, and 11, so I wasn’t being completely careless as a parent.
They’re not in the usual places, so it’s time to look outside. Since it’s only 40° out, that’s not a usual place yet. A mom tells me she saw them outside, and her daughter follows with, “They were walking on the ice.” I pause, look at her, and no words form. Surely they weren’t walking on the ice, it’s been too warm for that.
I find them outside near the pond (I know), and tell them it’s time to come inside, and they probably shouldn’t go outside without telling me. I then casually ask, “You weren’t walking on the ice, right?” Yep. They were.
And it’s time to go home.
The conversation in the car started with dying, then hypothermia, then getting stuck in the potential mud, then the fact that there weren’t with any adults. I never yelled, but my heart wasn’t calm either.
Then I realized…they didn’t know. They’ve never learned the dangers of walking on a pond in early spring when everything was beginning to melt. This simply wasn’t information they had available to recall.
Why is it that I’m gracious with them when they’re learning to multiply fractions, but when their safety is in jeopardy I suddenly expect them to have the common sense of an adult with a life time of experience? It’s not fair, and it never ends well.
So I pulled back, taught the new information, and listened. Of course I then explained why their logic was so incredibly flawed, but OF COURSE IT WAS. Their little brains don’t have they information mine does. I seem to think they DO have all of my information, they just CHOOSE not to access it in an effort to make me crazy. Well, that might happen sometimes. I can’t rule it out quite yet.