Today, after spending the afternoon at Jill’s house with the kids, Bode was given a little box of milk for the ride home.
While we were on the Pike driving back, I heard Bode roll his window down, which was pretty unusual for him.
He was playing with his favorite new cement mixer toy truck that the Messina’s had given him as a hand-me-down.
I asked him why his window was down, and he said, “I just threw my milk out the window.”
I was, naturally, immediately infuriated and told him to hand me his new truck. He did, and I told him he wasn’t allowed to play with it anymore because I was so upset with him.
I told him, many times, that he was not ever to do that again. That I was so disappointed in him for doing that and that if he ever did it again, he’d be in so much more trouble than he was this time.
The whole time, Bode was just looking at me, as if to try and figure out why he was in so much trouble. He, honestly, just looked confused.
It started to dawn on me that he may not have any idea why he was in trouble. I realized that he just may not understand why it’s okay for us to throw some things out the window, but really not okay for him to throw his milk carton out, too.
I, immediately, started to ask him if he knew why I was so upset, if he knew the difference between garbage and food scraps…and, I apologized for a good, solid minute for getting so frustrated with him when he just simply didn’t understand the difference between food and garbage.
We, ultimately, had a great conversation about how it’s generally okay to throw something out the window as long as it’s something you can eat, but not okay if it’s something that you cannot.
It seemed to finally sink in.
I will say, though, that it made me realize how much we expect them to pick up just by observing conversations.
How could I have expected Bode to understand the difference between food and garbage being thrown out the window…when he’s only 4?
What made it even worse was his reaction: a 100% genuine apology from that little guy for throwing his milk out the window.
I guess the whole thing just got me thinking about how we need to be more patient with kids. We need to realize that they’re still learning, they’re still trying to figure out the world around them, and that we need to find the patience to see that when they do something wrong, there may be a legitimate reason why.