Thursday, November 25, 2010
3 Year Old Guilt
Tonight on the way home from my parents' house after Thanksgiving dinner, I had an interesting exchange with my three year old son. Two weeks ago, after the first snow of the season, our whole family went outside to play in the snow as it fell. It was great snowman-making snow, so Jamie and I immediately went to making a snowman. It was the first one that I've made in probably 20 years, and it was Jamie's first snowman ever, so I was really enjoying myself. And I really played it up with the boy, talking about how cool this snowman was going to be, and how fun it was to pack all the snow together. By the time we had the three tiers of the snowman put together, my wife and daughter joined us in the front yard. I had just finished strategically placing the rocks that formed the snowman's face, and encouraged my daughter to take a look. As I had my back turned, Jamie jumped, kicked, and knocked the snowman down, landing on top of the rubble. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked. After all the work we had put in together building that snowman, I was absolutely not expecting him to just tear it all down in two seconds. I told him that I was kind of sad that he would do that, especially after all the hard work we put in on it together. He didn't seem to care, so I said I didn't really want to play any more. He was cold too, so we went inside, but I explained to him that he shouldn't just go knocking down things that other people have worked on.
Cut to tonight: on the way home from my parents', Jamie and I were driving and listening to music. During a quiet part, he said from the back seat, "Dad?" "Yeah, buddy," I said. He got quiet and said, "I'm sorry I knocked down your snowman." I had to think for a minute, and then remembered what happened a couple weeks ago. "That's OK, buddy. I forgive you." "Thanks," he said. He kept apologizing all the way home, and I finally told him that once someone is forgiven, they don't need to apologize anymore, which he seemed to understand. He finally suggested that he and I build another snowman tomorrow, and I agreed. Then he said, "And then maybe we can knock it down!" I agreed.
It's interesting that, even in a three year old, the conscience works and works. Even young children know when they've done something wrong, and they know that it's right to apologize. His conscience has been eating away at him for the past two weeks, and for whatever reason, tonight it led him to do something about it.
I can't wait to build another snowman!