by Jennifer Dyer
Inside I think I’m about as tough as jello left out in the hot sun. As you can imagine, that personality trait does not always lend itself to raising children with great character. Sticking to the consequences is tough.
A few weeks ago, we planned to visit Great Wolf Lodge again. The first trip had been challenging, but for some reason hubby and I both took temporary leave from our senses and bought another Groupon. So, here we were on a Thursday night preparing for another two days of marinating in chlorine and rubbing shoulders with 1,000’s of our closest
If you’ve never been there, it is a really nice place. In addition to the waterpark, there is also MagicQuest, which entails running up and down stairs for hours waving a $$ wand at boxes and some other stuff that I don’t know because I’ve never done it, but the kids love it. And it wears them out. A brilliant plan on GWL’s part, if you ask me.
So, as I mentioned, the wands are expensive. Last trip, a wand came with our package, so no problem, but this trip was different. For weeks I’d been telling Eldest to find her wand. The night before we left, I decided to make a sweep for said wand in case Rachel had stashed it somewhere.
I went through the ball pit. Although I found no wand, I did find out where all the Easter Eggs and Starbursts had gone–at least the half-chewed ones. Nice. I also found my nephew’s entire collection of dinosaurs, a few toy snakes, a broom, three jump ropes, and the lost map to Atlantis. But no wand.
I moved furniture in the game room, cleaned out baskets, reorganized toys, and … well, you get the picture. Mom was working up a sweat.
And the kids watched TV.
At the end of the night, no wand had appeared, and the only one putting effort into the search was Mom, the person who wasn’t going to use it. So, I had some sad news to deliver.
Hubby and I, long faces on, informed Eldest that we would have coughed up the cash for another wand if we’d seen any sort of effort made toward finding ours. Now my goal is not to embarrass Eldest, so enough about that.
My point is I was totally sad to dish out that consequence! Here we were about to take a trip where half the fun is that Quest game and we were having to say tough luck, kid. It stunk. I was so tempted to cave, to buy another wand, to play the game with her. To watch her giggle and run. We were going on a mini vacation, after all. We’d paid all that $$$ to stay there and we wouldn’t get to enjoy one of the biggest attractions.
At the hotel, I almost gave in. She didn’t ask, but it seemed like EVERYONE was playing the game, running, and laughing. Everyone, except us.
But we didn’t give in. It’s the little consequences like this one that build character. It’s not easy. It’s more fun to give in, to enjoy the moment, but the long-term consequences of me caving would be raising a child who didn’t believe in consequences. A kid who thinks “the rules don’t apply to me. It doesn’t matter what I do, I’ll still get my way.” In other words, a spoiled brat who doesn’t think about how his or her actions affect other people.
So, in the short term, it was no fun. In the long-term, though, I’m so glad I stayed tough.