The House Tool Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke.Lessons usually mean that one is being taught or reminded of something forgotten. My tyke is my teacher and has plenty of lessons to share. Most of these lessons just appear out of the blue while other lessons are right in front of me. Luckily, my teacher does an excellent job at bringing the lessons to my attention. I have made a game out of the lessons and try as I might to guess when they will appear, but I am usually way off and have no idea that I am in the middle of one until it’s over.
I was having a drain issue in one of our bathrooms and needed a specific tool to fix the problem. Unfortunately, I didn't own the needed tool. I was concerned about the cost of the tool and seriously wondered if I would ever use it again. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, "spring cleaning" and the processes of getting rid of stuff, and not accumulating more. This purchase would be considered in the category of "more stuff".
That evening, we went to the home of some friends for dinner. My buddy happens to be a contractor, and I happened to notice the exact tool that I needed for my little repair, sitting in the corner of the entry way of their home. I’m a dork because it didn't even occur to me to ask him if he had this tool. Luckily, he was generous enough to allow me to borrow it so I could clear the drain properly.
Once I completed the bathroom repair, I placed the borrowed tool it in our kitchen by the door to remind myself to return it to him. Both our busy work and activity schedules usually make it a little difficult to meet up with each other. For the record, I do not like keeping other people’s items for very long. I am one of those who like to return items promptly, usually only within days, and this was no exception
However, the two of us just kept missing each other; therefore, the tool just sat in the kitchen, on the floor, next to the door for more than a few weeks. Each time I left the house, I made a mental reminder to myself that in the next few days, I would return the tool.
My teacher decided to get to the bottom of my challenge in returning the tool. What I didn't realize as he was asking me questions about it, was that he was in the process of starting his lesson plan and of course, I had no idea it was coming...
"I thought this was Mr. Phillip's tool?" He asked.
"It is." I replied.
"Didn't you finish the job already?" He inquired.
"I did indeed." I noted
"Did he give it to you?" He asked.
"No, I just borrowed it." I responded.
"Well, then, why do you still have it?" He questioned.
"I do need to return it to him." I agreed.
"Well, what's the deal... why haven't you?" He pushed.
"Mr. Phillip and I have just not had a chance to meet up with each other, and the one time we went to his house for dinner, we were rushed and I just plain forgot to grab it."
"Dad... That’s rude."
"I agree son."
"Well, I suggest that you call him and work it out."
"Work what out? There is not an issue here."
"UUHHHH, yeah... returning the tool to Mr. Phillip."
My teacher proceeded to pick up the phone, and hand it to me. He again repeated his suggestion that I contact my friend and make arrangements to return the tool. So I called my buddy, and he and I chatted for several minutes and made some arrangements. As I was on the phone, my teacher stood there next to me with a pad of paper and a pen. I wasn't really sure of his intentions, but obviously he had something on his mind. Once I hung up the phone, my teacher immediately handed me the pad of paper and pen.
"Dad, you better write down the information, so you won’t forget."
"That's a great idea." I commented.
I wrote down the day, date, time and location where we were going to meet. I handed the pad to my teacher. He ripped the page out, got a piece of tape and taped the paper to the tool.
"See Dad, that’s all you had to do." He boasted.
"Okay, thank you Mr. Assistant." I commented.
"I'm not your "asstent". He objected as he walked away.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: It is important to return what you borrow in a timely manner.
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.