“Grab your hat, buddy. We’re leaving in a minute,” I hollered into the playland at our local McD’s.
“I can’t reach it,” came the muffled reply.
Looking through the window, I could see my eight year old son stretched out on the floor trying to slide his arm under the mesh-enclosed steel barrier, his hat about 6” out of his reach.
“How did your hat get in there?”
“He told me to throw it over the fence,” said my son, pointing at his friend.
Seeing the teaching moment, I decided not to ask anyone to unlock the fence so we could retrieve his hat. Instead, we left our name and number with the cashier, planning to follow up later in the week after the cleaning crew was able to get the hat for us.
This experience opened the door for a great discussion on peer pressure with both of my kids. He knew it was a dumb idea to throw the hat over the fence, but he wanted to impress his buddy.
“Now is the time to stand up for what you know is right,” I told him. “This time it was a hat. Next time it might be someone offering you a smoke or a drink. Or wanting you to steal something with them. Or worse. And the consequences won’t be as harmless.”
While the stakes were pretty low this time, I hope he got a glimpse of the bigger picture.
This life is both the dress rehearsal for future experiences, and the real deal, all at the same time. We can’t undo a decision, and the choices we make today affect the choices we will make tomorrow.
Are the things you are saying “yes” to today opening the doors that you want to walk through in your future?