Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Kid Plays with a Broken Jack-in-the-Box for long

Looking back ten years I remember the first summer I played the part of Jack. No, I wasn't the mascot for a fast food place, but I was that little guy that lived in a tiny box. And if someone turned the crank on the box long enough, I would pop out, contorting my face and making screeching sounds.

And so my new sons turned the crank on the box all....summer....long.

There was nothing more fun to them that watching me blow. They would find something that they knew would eventually get to me and keep going until finally I exploded. And with their attachment issues, it was the most fun they could imagine having.

In my journey as a parent I have learned to be less responsive to triggers. I have learned that engaging in arguments, investing myself emotionally in black holes of nonsense, and reacting quickly and intensely to their provocation never leads to anything good. And though I wish I could report that they never see me pop out of the box, it does still happen occasionally.

The fact of the matter is this: No kid plays with a broken Jack-in-the-Box for long, No kid will sit and turn a crank for hours if Jack never pops out. Eventually they move on to something else.

So the next time you can tell your child or teenager is beginning to turn the crank, picture yourself hiding inside the box, refusing to come out. Time them if you have to. It may be a silly game, but it just might work.

And eventually, at least for the moment, they'll give up and stop turning the crank.


Angela :-) said...

I like this metaphor and it's something I've been making progress on myself. Now to get dh to do the same. lol

Angela :-)

Becky said...

This is wonderful. I will be using this visual with an adult in my life. I am really looking forward to your book! You both have such a great way of putting things in perspective.