I was working on the molding in the hallway as the boys were doing their weekly chores–cleaning, vacuuming, each wearing their headphones and listening to “Adventures in Odyssey” on MP3 players.
(An aside: I sometimes wonder if we use AIO as a pacifier to keep our kids in line–it seems to turn them from rambunctious boys into little automatons, mindlessly working on their tasks. I’ll see ~D~ going over the same spot with the vacuum cleaner a half-dozen times, because he’s not really paying attention to the job but to the story going on in his ears. However, I’m wont to take this guilty pleasure away from them, because it works so well.)
One of them asked in a not so nice voice, “Are you finished vacuuming the kitchen?!”
The other retorted, “Does it look like I’m finished!?”
This rude and unkind behavior–it was my fatherly duty to put an end to it.
“Boys, I want you to come. NOW!” My frustration was evident. “You, guys are talking ugly to one another. There is no reason for it.”
The justification started in: “But he was doing ____”
“He wasn’t letting me _____”
I cut it all off: “I don’t care! I want you both to talk nice to one another and treat each other with respect, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!?” The last emphasis put them in their place, and they each gave a mumbling compliance.
It was not until I returned to my work that the irony of the situation hit me: I used the same tone of voice, the same attitude to correct the problem that I saw in my sons. Ouch.
Later at lunch, I confessed my sin to my boys and asked for their forgiveness, which they gave immediately. We all had a good laugh at the situation and moved on. It always amazes me how quickly they forgive, it is almost instantaneous. And it is then, that I’m glad to admit to them that I am human, that I too need forgiveness and need I it from them.
It is good to be a father.