broken tv

A 50” 3-D Plasma TV will not survive a swing from a Lego wand wielded by a preschooler. How do I know? My son killed one this weekend, less than 5 minutes after I had pulled it from the box and plugged it in.

In my other life, I also do tech reviews for a major Canadian retailer. That means test driving some pretty excellent gear. With a major hockey game to be broadcast in 3D, Panasonic offered me a test unit to have the boys over and experience sports in true, wonderful 3-D.

I had just plugged it in and invited the family to the basement when my son walked over to it, swung a lego wand and screamed “I don’t like this TV!” The screen cracked and went black. The only life remaining was a blinking red light on the bottom of the unit. A small warning that things were tragic.

What happened next was a true test of parenting. A test I failed. I erupted in a stream of scolds. It was embarrassing.

My wife stepped in and mediated until I could regain myself. Minutes later I was by his bedside talking to him about what I did and what he did.

Surprisingly, my wife owned the sudden switch in our son’s behavior saying it was because she was watching Oprah. There was an episode about a four-year-old diagnosed with bi-polar disorder that featured him throwing things around the house, yelling at his mom and, generally, being a terror. My wife caught only a few minutes of it, but then talked with our son about how the boy on TV was naughty and that’s not how good boys act.

No matter. After the explosion, I talked to him about why he did it and he made a reference to what he’d seen on TV that afternoon.

We were stunned. Then I thought back to how I reacted to the broken 50” plasma. Similar to the child on TV, I was demonstrating the wrong way to do things.

Upon hearing my story, a colleague forwarded me the article about a car reviewer and how his son launched a $180,000 Porsche through the garage door.

The car was a write off, and that father had a similar reaction to me. It was the representative for Porsche that offers the lesson in how to react when your kids go sideways.

Stuff happens,” he said. “We’re glad you’re okay. This is only a car. You don’t need a lecture. You already know.” [source]

The moral is simple. It was only a car. It was only a TV. He is only my son. Which is worth more?

How did you react when your kids, inevitably, destroyed something that was “important?”

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