For our vacation to Washington DC last year Melani and I were nervous about having young children in such a big city. Especially with four of them and only two of us. Man-to-man defense just isn’t going to work in our situation when the whole family is together. So Melani and I have implemented an adaptive zone defense as a strategy to manage them and look out for their safety when traveling (think Jimmy Boeheim / Syracuse basketball style – to be precise).
However, that can only be part of the solution. The other part requies educating the children of the importance of listening to us when we travel and focusing on their surroundings. A difficult lesson to impress on a head-strong 5 year old, for sure (Annie). We started talking about this months before we left for our trip with seemingly mixed results.
Teachable moments certainly have a funny way of presenting themselves with such perfect timing! One morning, right in front of the White House, Annie was taking pictures with her phone. When she was done – she distractedly and hurriedly reached out with the phone to hand it to Melani. Not surprisingly, there was a fumble and the phone hit the concrete sidewalk. Yup, the screen shattered.
Later that day, after everyone calmed down and had some time to reflect (me included), Annie and I had a conversation about the incident. I explained that this was not really a big deal. Although I was not happy about the phone getting destroyed, there was an opportunity here to learn a valuable lesson. A little more care and time taken to effectuate the hand-off could have prevented the entire incident. Just slowing down and making sure it was in her mother’s hand – and the result would be much different.
Here, I further explained, the consequences were actually minimal. But if the same mistakes were made in a different situation, let’s say crossing a busy city street, the consequences could be truly catastrophic and life altering – or worse – life ending.
A little bit of money could easily fix this problem of replacing the broken phone, but no amount of money could replace her arm or life…
As a note: Just to reinforce/ make sure she learned something from this incident we did make Annie save and pay for the phone replacement herself with her Dollar Drop funds. You can read more about the kids incentive system here.
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