To catch you up – yesterday I lost my iPhone. Now, if you know me then you know that I have a very close relationship with my iPhone. I have been known to refer to it as my third child. I love it. As you can tell I’m still speaking in the current tense as I’m not yet ready to cut the ties in spite of knowing it’s not coming back. I predict the seven stages of grief to come. I’m still hanging out in 1) shock and denial and 2) pain and guilt at the moment.
Anyhoo today I thought we’d concentrate on the aftermath…..
A lot of the time at home when we talk to the kids about the predictable number of electronic gadgets that live in our house we say things like ‘be careful’, ‘be gentle it’ll break and we can’t afford to replace it!’, ‘that’s expensive and if it breaks you’re not getting another one’, ‘don’t drop it or once it’s gone – it’s gone’ etc
I think about how I would feel if our 6 year old lost his Nintendo DS – as of yesterday he would have been in big trouble and I would have refused to buy him another so that he could ‘learn the value of things’ and ‘learn to be more careful and responsible with his things’. But what would that really teach him? Does he not already value his things? I think that kids (for the most part) really do. The truth is that I lose things ALL the time. I lost my wallet a couple of weeks ago and cancelled all the cards before finding it in the glove box of the car. I rarely know where my sunglasses are and it’s a good thing that we have two sets of car keys as I only ever know where one is. I value all of these things and still lose them, often. And, in spite of all of my clearly obvious short comings, I get upset at my son (who’s only 6 and still learning) if he comes home without his school hat or his lunch box.
Yesterday when Miles discovered that I lost my phone he asked if I’d get another one – I explained that they were very expensive and we had to see. I also added that mummy just can’t get a new thing every time that she loses one. Miles immediately offered me all of the money in his piggy bank to get me another one. All of it. Everything he’d saved, for me. Not because he needed to but because he wanted to make things better. He didn’t judge me for losing the phone. He didn’t make me feel guilty or call me names like silly, or scatterbrained and didn’t ask for anything in return. When I said thank you but it wouldn’t be enough he started working on dad to pool money with him so that they could get enough together. It showed an amazing generosity of spirit and an empathy that I can only dream of.
I thought back to what I’d do if he lost his DS and I took a really hard look at myself. I thought about how terrible and stupid and embarrassed I feel right now, having lost my phone, without anyone making me feel so. I thought about how Miles might feel if he lost his DS, not just because he didn’t have it but also because he’d have to tell us and fear the repercussions. Now, I just hope that no matter what Miles ever loses or accidentally breaks I have the courage to remember this moment and be a bigger person – to give him a hug and tell him it’s ok, it’s just ‘things’ and we all lose and break ‘things’ sometimes then I hope that I open my wallet and offer him my money to put with his and replace it, even if we can just put together a plan to get another. I hope I can do it because I want to be more like him.