3 Questions I Get Asked Often – Why 4 kids?
Answering the 3rd question in the series of answering 3 questions that I’m commonly asked with:
Why do you have 4 kids?
I am the oldest of 3 boys and to say we had a lot of energy is an understatement. We spent a great deal of time destroying our couches by using them as wrestling mats and things to jump on. There is archived video of us playing Nintendo and me pushing my brothers off the couch so they wouldn’t win. Apparently I had a competitive side at some point in my life.
How my mother and father did not have a stroke dealing with us is beyond me. Maybe they just don’t know all of the stunts we pulled … yeah, I’m going to go with that thought that we did more then she still knows. From using our skateboards as bobsleds to jumping off the roof into snowbanks, it is amazing I did not break any bones.
So why 4 kids … well, can’t have just 3 as that would be odd. (yes, that’s my sense of humor) My wife and I always agreed on having at least 2. I made the joke that I wanted my own hockey team. Just to let you know, that would be 6 on the ice. From a
mental financial standpoint, I was talked down to 4 kids. I like the loud big family holidays. When I was a kid, I remembered getting together at my mom’s family house and enjoying the noise. Loud talking, stories from the past, and plenty of jokes. Starting to see where my sense of humor comes from.
As my wife is a teacher (Master’s degree and all) and I pulled every trick as a kid, I figured we’d make great parents. And for the most part that is true. What I didn’t take into account is that kids’ evolve and get smarter when challenged. Or at least ours do. I’m always telling them to “work the problem and not create new ones” … apparently the parents’ rules were the problem.
There are many times I feel like I am in court debating a lawyer in a trial case. In the most recent case, Chocolate Sprinkles vs The Carpet, we had 3 suspects. Unfortunately our youngest child was not one of the suspects as she still doesn’t understand lying (the oldest 3 are working on her). The first step is to determine the time of day the crime took place. From there, determine who was alone, then if they are capable of reaching the Chocolate Sprinkles. That takes it down to the 2 oldest kids. Just like you see on CSI, separate them and ask for the story. Generally they blame the other, so you ask for details, and compare stories. At the end of the day, you assign responsibility for the crime. No matter how much they say it wasn’t them, good time to reinforce:
Family is a team and we succeed together.
When I coached youth hockey, lead a team at work, or work with a new client, I use the same team approach. It takes everyone’s input to be successful. We need to learn from our mistakes and the first way to do that is admit we made a mistake. Only then can you move forward.
I’ll leave you with this scene from The Cosby Show. It is a conversation I see having with my son in a few years. Cliff explains to Theo economics and the high expectations he has for him to do his best and try. It also illustrates how smart kids are and their logic, in their head, they come up with.