The Ostrich Incident
It is been more than a year now and people have been questioning me what it is like to be remarried, especially now that I have a total of 5 kids.
Perhaps my journal entry is the best way to explain it…
Over the past month or so I have been feeling really good. I have just been happy about life, about my partner, about all of our kids, about my work, and about a few personal initiatives I've started to apply. But this weekend, it turned out different. I was tired, grumpy, and frustrated with ‘stuff’. With each of the kids wanting a piece of me, I seemed drawn in 3 million directions. The house was a mess, no one was helping, and I didn’t have 5 minutes of my own time to even scratch my head.
The day before, my neighbour and I had made a decision to have a yard sale. Side by side yard sales meant a larger crowd and more sales. At about mid morning, I took my 14-year-old son, Louis, over to my neighbor’s house to find out what they had for sale. Tucked away, he found a huge purple marionette and decided he had to have it. I tried to dissuade him; after all wasn’t the reason for a yard sale to eliminate our junk, not trade it in for more? He did not let it out of his sight and at the end of the day, with $4 in his hand, he went to make his purchase. The moment he got home, his 16-year-old stepbrother, Jonathan, saw this puppet and had to have one too. Luckily there was one left. He scrounged up all his change and they accepted the deal for 3 dollars and 85 cents. It was an ostrich and Jonathan promptly called him Ollie.
Two grown boys - both taller than me -walking around with marionettes. Fun.
Within seconds, Jonathan’s brothers, Brian and Michael, were arguing over the puppet. They offered him increasingly higher bids to purchase it from him. $5, id="mce_marker"0, id="mce_marker"2, id="mce_marker"5, $20!!! It would have been a great gain to him - but he refused. He made a concession, however and permitted them to play with it in his absence. That night he had a date with his girlfriend so the two boys were free to play with it for the evening.
In a war over who gets to play with it first, the ostrich puppet’s strings broke. They attempted to repair it, but it just was not the same. The next day, Michael had about 4 friends over to review for exams. The ostrich had been left on Michael’s bed, and without any consideration to what was on the bed, one of his friends plopped himself down and compressed the bird. Poor Ollie.
When Jonathan found the condition of his Ostrich the following day, he flipped out. “I can’t believe you did this to Ollie! You don’t care for anything! You are both disrespectful and careless! I will never lend you anything again! You owe me $3.85!”
He ranted for about 40 minutes, when finally, he pulled out a piece of paper and demanded that they sign a pledge that they would not touch his things again.
Then he continued to ask his dad to sign on their behalf. They were under legal signing age anyway and he realized he needed legal consent.
His dad refused.
At this time, Jonathan was straddling the line between being furious and being a stand-up comedian. He said, “Fine. I will sign it for you.” He wrote the word ‘Daddy’ on the lines beside Brian and Michael’s names.
“You can’t sign my name,” Allan protested.“That is forgery!”
The moment Brian heard the term “forgery”, he determined that it was a criminal offense and called 911.
Though he hung up a split-second after dialing, he was in shock to learn that a police officer had been sent to our home to check out the “Ostrich Incident.” The officer was hard put not to laugh when he heard the whole story, but he put on a strict face and educated the kids, all of whom were sitting apprehensively in a row on the living room couch, regarding the proper use of the 9-1-1 emergency service.
Later that evening, as we sat around the dinner table going over how that episode would have made for good T.V., the kids were rather sorry and agreed to pitch in more at home and concentrate a bit more on being considerate towards the people around them. They ALL helped in the kitchen afterwards - one clearing the table, one rinsing, one loading the dishwasher, one on Tupperware duty, etc... We worked like a well-oiled machine and it felt amazing. Nobody left the kitchen until it was ALL done.
My grumpiness had disappeared, and all it took was an ostrich.
Kim Ades, MBA, President of Frame of Mind Coaching, is one of North America’s foremost experts on performance through thought management. By using her unique process of coaching through journaling, she works with clients to unveil and switch their thought patterns to ignite significant change and life transformation. She is now teaching this process to coaches all over the world for use with their clients. Visit www.frameofmindcoaching to sign up for your own free, secure, online journal.