Today let us examine one of the great mysteries considered by parents everywhere. It’s one of the truly baffling baffles which ever baffled a baffler, (shout-out to Dr. Seuss). Scientists have pondered. Investigators have investigated. Physicists have physicized. Journalists have journaled. Politicians have put forth legislation. Instructors have instructed. All around the world the great and mighty, the high and low, have tried to sort out this mystery, but none are able to solve it, to address this issue, and answer the parent’s question:
Why do my children act this way?
By “this way” I mean any way in which our children act that drives parents bonkers, defies explanation, and generally makes us want to tear our hair out. These are the daily acts and omissions which any person with common sense greater than a radish would perform, yet our children fail to accomplish.
For example, I was recently in a McDonald’s bathroom washing my hands and I heard a father and his child in the stall next to me. Suddenly the father let out a prolonged sigh of exasperation. I couldn’t see what happened, yet instantly I knew his son had done something ridiculous. Why? Because I’ve made that same exasperated sigh countless times before when my children did something which made absolutely no sense. Sure enough, the following conversation ensued:
“Son, why are you rubbing your hands on the bathroom floor?”
Of course the boy had no reasonable response. None of those little people do, (although girls are slightly better than boys). They are all incapable of common sense. Their very nature is bent towards the foolish and nonsensical. They simply can’t help themselves. Thus parents live in a world of unanswered questions, like:
“Why did you hit your sister in the face with a rake?”
“Why are you eating the dog’s food?”
“Why did you color all over yourself/the wall/your brother?”
“Why did you hide your half eaten turkey sandwich under your car seat three weeks ago?”
No matter how ridiculous the action, how foolish the thought, or how lacking in any degree of common sense, a child will be unable to give you any reasonable answer. You can actually look into their face and see they recognize how silly their actions were, but they can’t give an explanation. It’s as if suddenly, by your asking they thought about the reasonableness of their decision for the first time. “You’re right dad. Setting the trash can on fire WAS a bad idea. Huh. I wish I’d thought about that before. Oh well. Can I have a snack?”
And there you have it. You, the parent, are left to deal with the consequences of their foolishness and they have moved on to snack time. This is why parents always look tired and stressed, because we live in a world which makes no sense. It’s like living in Wonderland and trying to have a sensible tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. It’ll drive you crazy.
It is at this point in the story where I am supposed to offer some sage advice or Biblically inspired wisdom to make it all better and encourage you all…
Oh, hold on…I think I’ve got something…
Never mind…I got nothing. All I can tell you is to strap on your parent helmet and embrace the mystery that is children. Just ride the wave. Don’t try to understand them. Children belong in the same category as black holes, the tax code, politicians, and people who enjoy Brussels sprouts. They can not be understood. They are a conundrum.
If you want good advice, then I suggest asking a grandparent. The grandparent will probably just laugh at you…and then ask if they can watch the grand-kids.
On second thought, grandparents are just as weird as the children.