Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Learning lessons the hard way
When I was a kid I owned a portable cassette player, just like the one pictured above. I loved it. I've always loved listening to music, and even though my taste in music has mellowed over the years, I still love keeping up with all the latest stuff.
I was at a school function a few months ago, throwing myself around the dance floor when an Ariana Grande song came on. I started mouthing the words. Every single one of them. (And there's no way I'd classify myself as an AG fan.) One of the other mums looked at me in amazement. 'How do you know all the words?' I listen to music a lot. (Commuting allows that.)
Back to my youth and my cassette player ... One day I went in search of my cassette player and I couldn't find it anywhere. I knew I'd had it the day before, but it was nowhere to be seen. Eventually I asked Mum if she'd seen it?
'Where did you have it last?' she asked.
I thought about it for a few seconds. 'Outside?'
'Did you check out there?'
'And it wasn't there?'
'Did you leave it outside?' she asked, raising her eyebrows as she did. My mind started ticking over. The day before, I'd been playing my cassette player outside, but I couldn't recall bringing it inside afterwards.
I could suddenly see where Mum was going with this. 'I ... think so,' I answered hesitantly.
Mum shrugged her shoulders. 'Well,' she said, giving me a knowing look, 'that was a silly place to leave it, wasn't it? Maybe someone took it?'
I'd have argued with her, but I knew instantly it was my fault. My bottom lip started to tremble. 'B-but, my Monkees tape was in it.' I loved The Monkees (especially Davy Jones). I'd heard my neighbour's son playing their album just weeks before and when Mum told the neighbour how much I loved the band, her son had kindly made me my very own copy of the album on cassette. I'd been playing it non-stop ever since.
'Well,' my Mum replied, 'that's what happens when you don't look after your things, Jodie.'
I was devastated. Not only had I lost my Monkees cassette, but my cassette player too!
Weeks later (or maybe it was days - it felt like weeks, anyway), I walked in to my bedroom, and there, sitting on my toy box, was my cassette player. I ran out to find Mum in the kitchen.
'Mum!' I yelled. 'Did you find my cassette player?!'
'Yes,' she replied, smiling, her hands covered in flour.
'Where was it?' I asked, excitedly.
'I found it the day you left it outside, and I put it away.'
Wait ... what?
I was slightly confused. 'You put it away?'
'Yes. I put it away, because I wanted you to learn a very important lesson: you have to look after your things. If I hadn't found it, it might have rained and the cassette player would be ruined. You can't just leave your stuff lying around.'
I don't remember being particularly upset at what my Mum had done. I think I was kind of thankful, and it did serve as a very important lesson for me. It was kind of clever of her. I've (clearly) never forgotten about the time I almost lost my cassette player because I didn't look after it.
On Christmas Day just passed, the kids all received money from their Granny and Aunt and Uncle. There's nothing more that drives me insane than seeing money lying around the house that belongs to my kids. They get it out, look at it then leave it on the kitchen bench. Or by the tv. Or in the rumpus room. Or by the computer in the study. I've told them time and time again about looking after their money. The eldest two seem to have gotten it now, but Youngest Son? Not so much. He once 'lost' $20, so as a one-off, we replaced it (thinking we'd probably picked it up ourselves and kept it by accident). This time though, I warned the boys over and over after they opened their envelopes and cards containing their cash, 'Make sure you put your money away, because it won't be replaced. You're responsible for it.'
Guess what happened? Youngest Son lost fifty dollars. He hunted high and low for it. I hunted high and low for it. As did Mr A. We couldn't find it. Eventually, I turned to Youngest Son, 'Oh well, that's it then. You're officially down fifty bucks!'
Just like when my Mum told me that my cassette player was probably gone for good, Youngest Son didn't react to the news he'd probably never see his money again. I could tell he was sad, but he also knew - knew - he hadn't looked after it, so he couldn't blame anyone other than himself.
Unlike my Mum, I didn't take the money from him to teach him a lesson, but I did find it some weeks later when I was cleaning up his room. He'd hidden it under a box of textas and pencils he keeps on his desk. I called him in to his room to break the good news to him. 'Oh!' he exclaimed, 'I remember putting it there now!'
Still, it was a good lesson for him to learn. Hopefully in future he'll put it away in his drawer as I always suggest he should, even though he never does. *crosses fingers*
I think that's called 'history repeating itself', isn't it?