To Fix or Not to Fix? That is the question.
Whether tis nobler in my mind to suffer
The complaints and whines of not-so-helpful kids
Or to merely fix the trampoline myself
And, avoiding the kids, to relax, to rest—
Thus began yesterday’s debate inside my brain. Yes, I talk to myself and I answer myself. Sometimes the voice inside my head resembles Shakespeare. Sometimes a third voice tries to call, however, like life in my house, I can never find the phone. And, forget voicemails. My brain is old school. If it is not happening now, it probably won’t happen.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, we lost another trampoline in a storm. I think we are on our fifth one. For the record, I never wanted a trampoline. For the record, the wife put together most of the trampolines. (She’s not the only one who can be stubborn.) For the record, the kids have loved jumping on it, sometimes more than playing video games, and it definitely tires them out. Thus, my wife continues to be right, and I continue to be wrong.
I did tell my wife I would fix this one. Ok, the truth is she told me to fix it and I acquiesced. The debate was whether I should have some of my kids help. One would think that being a teacher, I would seize this teachable moment. It was an opportunity to teach them about reading directions, using a rubber mallet, screwdrivers, wrenches and even an Allen wrench! Plus, I have always complained that my dad was a terrible teacher. He was a mechanic, but he never had me do anything but hand him the tools. I would soon grow bored and wander off. He never did try to find me, so I guess he was happier to not have to be slowed down by my questions and persistence in asking to do something with the tools.
I decided to have my kids help me. I was not going to cower from having to be patient. I am patient everyday in the classroom. I did forget that it is summer time, and I have regressed a little. Nonetheless, I decided to have my kids help me. Here is what they learned:
1. Ignore the directions. Real men don’t read them.
a. “But Dad, couldn’t one of us get hurt?”
b. “Son, we have more kids. Even the President is replaceable.”
2. The first way you do it may not be the best way. Be ready to tear down and put together again. 3. Just because it is a rubber mallet doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.
a. “But Thor was cool!”
b. “Right Son. And he was immortal. Remember my thought about having more kids to replace you?”
4. When Mom or the box says it will only take thirty minutes, it is understatement. Multiply the estimate by 4 or 5.
5. Don’t celebrate too soon. Just because one screw went into one pole, doesn’t mean you are finished. There are five more poles more to put together.
6. Don’t give up. If the bolt doesn’t fit, figure it out. Remember the wisdom of Walt Disney, “Doing the impossible is kind of fun.”
7. Sometimes you have to be smarter than a nut (and bolt).
Now, we have a working trampoline, and my children are waiting for a neighbor to test it out. I am glad teaching kids how to write has less chance of injury.