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Family Thoughts
The Lesson of the Taco Shell
by Clement


It was a taco on the roof. Actually, it was a taco shell on the roof. Backing out of the driveway, I noticed a white something just outside the boy's bedroom window on the second floor, lying on the roof.

"Now what in the heck is that?" I muttered, peering intently at the object, unable to identify it from the distance of fifty feet.

A snicker from the back seat followed by several giggles.

"It's a taco shell Dad."

"Oh my Lord! How did that get up there?!" My tone wasn't exactly humorous.

Christmas Unwrapped
the new book by Clement SkyGazer
The guilty party was identified, of course by one of the other two. I can't remember the rationale now for why the taco was thrown onto the roof. I am sure it had something to do with the silliness that accompanies a ten year old's train of thought. They probably had some completely irrelevant reason, perhaps there was no real reason at all. Then, confronted with the deed, they quickly concocted what they thought was an acceptable explanation to me, truth discarded in the vain effort to avoid the wrath of Dad.

Being a sensible parent I quickly seized the opportunity to equate the taco to the other signs of kid trails. You know kid trails. The sock laying in the middle of the floor or on the kitchen counter, the discarded shirt, the popsicle wrapper on the carpet, the candy wrapper with half eaten candy stuck to it stuffed inside the cushion on the couch, to all the other signs of kid trail. They are the signs of kids. You can track kids through a house, a yard, anywhere! Easier than following a hare in fresh snow.

I launched into the respect thing, for the house, for their mom, for order in life in general. I got on a roll and couldn't stop. The machine gun suddenly appeared in my mental hands and before you knew it, I had a kid with a dozen holes in the back seat with all the things they did wrong, and how this was a sign they didn't respect anything. Whew!

Amazing all it takes to send you over the edge isn't it?

Fortunately mental machine guns, while just as destructive as the real ones, don't bleed the victim to death. If you can overcome the pride influence -the contamination of the demon of pride, the infection that puts you on the high and mighty horse and allows you to say whatever you want for the sake of pointing out, correcting, or otherwise do what you think is parenting - you can save the victim.

I am so sorry I didn't seize the opportunity to laugh. Socks on the counter are one thing. Taco shells on the roof are quite another. I missed a shot at humor, perhaps the greatest gift next to His love that He gives us. As for the handling and teaching and correcting, how could I possibly forget how He handles us, His children - and do the same.

Could I actually do any better?

Oh by the way, I was reminded today why the taco on the roof.

"Just wanted to see if it could fly, Dad."
Clement is the author a Clement SkyGazer is first a husband and father. Clement wrote much of his new book Christmas Unwrapped while traveling by air. Visit http://www.leelanau.com/skygazer/ for more information.

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