Monday, October 17, 2011

A Consequence

In our house 'consequence' is a common word.  Lately, we are beginning to hear: "I hate consequences". Kind of the point, I thought. We try to use natural consequences for most things, but as you know, that isn't always possible.  Tonight though, the tables were turned on our typical consequence discussion. Tonight, Jack was the one to decide the consequence for his dad.

Let me explain. It all started simply enough, with a question.

"Jack, how did you get to the bus stop today?" I asked.
"I rode the trail-a-bike," Jack replied.
"Oh, cool" See how bland the conversation was.
"Dad didn't wear his helmet."
"WHAT?!" I stopped what I was doing and focused all of my attention on Jack.
"It's okay, because he didn't get hurt"Jack explains.

I will not bore you with the exact wording of the rest of the conversation, basically it was Jack explaining to me that Brandon didn't wear a helmet when they rode their bikes to the bus stop. At this point, you could be thinking, what's the big deal? The bus stop is, what, like, 3 blocks away?  Let me pause a give you a brief history of my bike riding relationship with Brandon.

His first bike accident occurred probably 11 years ago. He called and asked me to pick him up because his bike wasn't working. When I got to the intersection he was at, I was waved through by a fireman, as I saw Brandon being loaded onto an ambulance.  At which point I started crying.

His next accident happened 7 years ago when I was at work. He called, told me he fell on his bike, but he was okay. I asked if I needed to come get him, as I was headed to a holiday party, and he said no he was fine.  Hours later he called and asked if I would pick him up at the doctor's office. Okay, this time I pull up and he comes hobbling out on crutches.

His last accident happened 2 years ago, on his way home from work. Once again, he called, indicated he had fallen while riding his bike but he was okay. I asked if I should come get him, and he said no. Could I meet him at the hospital instead? He was quick to reassure me that he was fine, it was just a precaution. This time I walked into the ER, with a 4 year old, 2 year old, a 3 month old in the car seat, and carrying 2 happy meals.  We all traipsed into his room to find doctors working on him, and blood pouring down his  face. The boys are still scarred.

As additional background information, there have been several fatal bicycle accidents in our area recently. Two of them are on roads he frequently travels. I have requested (um, demanded) that he always ride safely. Use safety lights, stay in the bike lane, watch oncoming cars, and ALWAYS wear your helmet.

Back to tonight.  As my tone took on a strident, intense, quality, while I lectured on the importance of always wearing a helmet. Case in point, Micah's recent bike accident. But, Micah was quick to point out, he didn't hit his head, just his face.  Thanks Micah.

During the lecture, Jack stopped me and suggested that Dad needed a consequence. He did not wear his helmet, even though that was a rule (not to mention poor modeling) and he should have a consequence. A natural consequence would have been that he fell and got a concussion. Okay, not really, but something bike related. Instead, I asked Jack what he thought would be a good consequence.

He looked around the post-dinner kitchen and said, "He should clean this messy kitchen." Excellent idea, my son, excellent idea.

When Brandon got home, Jack was very quick to inform him of his consequence. Brandon with a serious face told Jack that he was right, he didn't follow the rules and he should have a consequence. Then he smirked at me! As if to say, right, but I don't really have to clean the kitchen.

Oh yes you do.  I have begged, cried, yelled, threatened, and yet you still go out on your bike without a helmet. AND you do it when our kids can see. The same boys who have fallen out of the tree house, had a traumatic bike accident, bit their tongue in two, and have had more head bumps then I can count. Yes, let's show them that it's okay to not wear a helmet as long as you don't get hurt.

My heart lodges in my throat every time he is 5 minutes late. I've spent 11 years getting used to him riding his bike to and from work, in all weather and traffic. All I ask is that he does everything he can to keep himself safe.
Riding without a helmet is not okay. End of story.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I hope someone said "Uh-Oh" to B!