The other day, I’m in the living room playing with my toddler when I hear a crash from the kitchen and a small voice say “um….Mom. I made a mistake and need some help.”
I get up and walk into the kitchen. The first thing I see is milk all over the floor. It’s not just on the floor, it splashed up the cabinets and walls. Drops of milk seemed to get on every surface of my freshly cleaned kitchen.
Then I see my 4 year old son is standing there, eyes wide, about to cry.
“Mommy, I didn’t mean to, the cup just fell out of my hand and milk went everywhere!”
Seriously, I laughed. I knew he didn’t do it on purpose, of course it had been a mistake. Mistakes happen.
Then I said “Wow J, that is a HUGE mess! Look at how the milk just splattered everywhere! Isn’t that crazy!? What do you think we should do about this?”
“Clean it up!”
I handed him a few paper towels, got a few myself and together we cleaned the floor…and the walls…and the cabinets…
When I saw the mess, I had two choices. I could get mad, roll my eyes, and possibly say how irresponsible he is and rant on about how I couldn’t believe he could make such a mess.
Or I could laugh.
I choose laughter because I’ve been there and I know that mistakes happen.
You see…I had just done it myself.
Yep, that’s an entire container of oatmeal on my kitchen floor, spilled by yours truly.
Hey, it happens.
I know I wouldn’t want to be scolded just because I spilled something, so I don’t jump on my kids for accidents.
This is a concept that I’ve been trying to use in other situations as well.
Accidentally run into or hit your brother? “Apologize and try to be more careful next time”
Spill glitter all over our living room floor? “Here’s a vacuum”
Track mud into the house? “Here’s a mop”
Break something valuable? “Find a way to earn the money to pay for it”
Break something fixable? “Here’s the glue”
Every time an accident happens, I react the same. “Oops! Let’s fix it”. And like the spilled milk example…I might even laugh.
Accidents happen every single day, we’re human, and it’s okay.
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