Early one morning in Gilbert, AZ I was preparing to enjoy watching my son play baseball with his league team. I had set out my chair under the awning, organized my snacks and icy cold drink, greeted the other parents and had just settled down. I was just starting to relax in my comfy deluxe extra padded folding chair. My beloved Wiley X sunglasses perched on top of my head. I had kicked my feet up against fence behind the pitching mound when I heard, “Mom, I need some sunglasses.” Now, my wife had just bought our son a new set of sunglasses specifically for baseball that week. As a parent, you may already see where the rest of this conversation is going.

The alarms have already started going off in my heard. A scene from “Lord of the Rings,” floods through my head, only Gollum is now holding my sunglasses instead of the One Ring. It all ends when my ever so Cool_Gollum_by_minni_manloving, supportive and understanding wife gives me “the look.” The resistance has failed. I speak somber and threatening, “Take care of them.” My son rips the glasses from my fingers, like taking the treasure key from cold dead grip of “One Eye Willie.”

Near the end of the game, my son decided to mess around and accidentally drops the glasses. They bounce off his glove then his hand as he fumbles to catch them landing on the rocky clay he then kicks the glasses as he is trying to pick them up. If it were not for my personal connection to the affair, it would have reminded me of a scene by the Lovable Tramp. However, all that was going through my mind was, “Noooooooo!” My son promptly returned the clay covered glasses to me with a smile and very sincere, “My bad”. “My bad?!” to me, my bad is just like saying, “oops, oh well, not my fault I’m offering an apology because I have too, not because I mean it.” It deflects blame and shirks responsibility. “My bad,” allows the causing person to feel better about the mayhem they have causes in someone’s life and not actually take any real responsibility. I carefully inspected the glasses to find several large scratches right in the middle of the left lens. When I told my son he had scratched my glasses, he kindly looked into my eye with the kind of deep connection that only a loving father and son can share. It was then I knew without a doubt the real heartfelt apology was going to be given. He looked straight up at me and said, “Well dad, it’s your fault for lending them to me”.   I was lost, my head was spinning, where was my son!? Now it was not the overpriced Wiley X sunglasses that I was angry about, material things can be replaced. It was the blatant lack of responsibility oozing from my son. When did my son become Justin Bieber?  Someone must have stolen my son and replaced his brain with this, this Justin Bieber/Paris Hilton inconsiderate intolerable mashup. I think my wife saw the murderous intent boiling up in me and skillfully changed the subject and directed my son away.

That was several years ago, my son understands now that when someone lends you something you are responsible for it and you take as good or better care of it than you do your own things. If it gets damaged of broken you immediately give a sincere apology and have it fixed or replaced.

 

Thanks for listening,

Johnny

The Charlie Mike Project

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