Wednesday, February 04, 2015

"It Won't Break"

"I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken." ~a joke I learned from Dad.

"Teacher Tom, will you help me?" I'd observed this newly minted three-year-old boy wrestling with the plastic cover of an electric fan we dismantled several months ago. He was attempting to get it to the upper floor of the new playhouse, but it was simply too large to fit through the opening. I said, "Sure," and slid it through the railing.

He climbed the ladder, then positioned the fan cover over the opening, saying, "It's a door."

A friend following him up the ladder objected, "I can't get up!"

"It's a door. Open it."

"I can't."

"Use your head. It's a head door."

This struck them both as funny and they laughed as he moved the "door" out of his way with the top of his head. When they were both upstairs, they moved it back into place.

I said, "If you walk on it, it might break and you'll fall through the hole." I'm not really sure why I said it, neither boy is a daredevil. At least I didn't say, "Be careful. I guess it was one of those moments of catastrophic thinking that creep into our heads even when we know better. In my effort to warn them, I'd merely given them an idea.

They looked at their door for a moment, obviously thinking about standing on it. Finally, one of them said, "It won't break."

"You're pretty heavy." I envisioned him plunging through the hole and prepared myself for making a rescue.

"Watch," and with this he carefully stepped on the edge of the plastic mesh where it overlapped the floor, avoiding the part that covered the actual opening, keeping himself safe while proving me wrong all in one maneuver. His buddy, in turn, proved me wrong as well. They've only been at Woodland Park for a few months, but they've already learned to question my authority, not defiantly, but as a matter of course. Teacher Tom is too often wrong to take at face value. That's pretty cool.

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