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The Potato Chip Lesson

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke.

by Hal Evan Caplan
June 17, 2009

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The Potato Chip Lesson
The Potato Chip Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke.My tyke is always teaching me lessons. I am not always aware that I am smack-dab in the middle of a lesson until it’s already over, and I'm left there thinking to myself, "I don't know how, but...it just happened again". I am here to say that I do enjoy learning these valuable lessons from my teacher, even though I am often caught off guard.

As parents, it's always a "treat" to see that the things you've taught your child did indeed stick in their head. We try and try to instill upon them the things we feel are important to us and throughout their lives when interacting with others. Frustration sometimes sets in for parents, because our children either don’t listen or they choose to do the exact opposite. So, again, when it does happen, it's very exciting.

My wife and I are preparing for a yard sale in the very near future. This yard sale was supposed to have already taken place, but never did because my wife, my teacher and I chose to have "fun" instead. (If this sounds familiar, this is the yard sale that was discussed in a past story). So wish me luck.

We were taking some furniture to my wife's Uncle Gus's warehouse for storage, as well as picking some items up we had stored there in the past. For this endeavor, we needed some extra help. So, I asked my friend Scott if he would be willing to help, and lucky for us, he agreed.

The warehouse is located in downtown Birmingham and we drove there in two vehicles. I rode with Scott in his truck and my wife and my teacher drove in her car, since they had other errands to attend to after this chore was completed. On our way downtown, it occurred to my wife that it was past lunchtime because my teacher kept asking for snack after snack after snack.

Uncle Gus owns a hotdog establishment downtown called "Pete's Famous Hotdogs". This is not your typical hotdog restaurant because there are no tables or chairs. You place your order and either eat there standing up or take your order to go.

Luckily, Uncle Gus's hotdog place was just down the street from the warehouse so my wife and teacher stopped in to say "howdy" and to grab a quick bite to eat. Afterward they met Scott and me at the warehouse.

It turned out that Scott had not eaten lunch either, and for the record, neither had I. My guess is that I planned and coordinated several things throughout the morning and afternoon, and that lunch was missing from the itinerary. I was quickly reminded by my wife that it must be a "guy thing". Given the situation, I couldn't disagree, so she had me on that one. In future situations, note to self, "make sure lunch is part of the plan".

Scott and I opened the doors to the warehouse and stepped in to evaluate the situation. After a few minutes, we emerged from inside. I immediately noticed my teacher eating a bag of chips. I noticed this immediately because my "hunger radar" went off. I really wanted some, but out of respect to Scott and that it was a small single size bag, I was not going to ask for any.

I turned my back for a second to look at the items on the truck and when I turned around, Scott was now crunching on the bag of chips and was on the tail end of thanking my teacher for the bag of chips.

I spun around toward my teacher.

"That was a very nice thing to do". I commented.
"What was nice"? He asked.
"Your generosity". I pointed out.
"What’s gen-o-city"? He uttered.

After my laughter subsided, I explained what generosity meant.

"H-E-L-L-O, sharing is what we should remember to do". He pointed out.
"Mom and I are the one's who taught you that". I reminded him.
"Well, I was the one who thought about it and gave Mr. Scott the bag of chips". He exclaimed.
"I know son, I am very proud of you for thinking like that". I expressed.

A huge smile appeared from ear to ear on his face and in turn, a huge smile appeared on mine as well. Realizing that he does retain these important messages from his mother and me made me grin for some time. Actually I was grinning so much, that he finally asked me why I was still smiling. Simply put, my reply was, "One day you will understand..." Now that I am a father, I now understand what my mom meant by that "one liner", so often expressed during my childhood.

Without missing a beat, he turned to Mr. Scott and said, "Where are these things going"?With my smile still wide as can be, Scott and I began to unload the truck.

In a nutshell; the lesson that I was reminded of that day is: It always a generous and unselfish act to share with others.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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