When I was a young child my family and I lived in Seattle Washington. I remember that we would often take trips to see my Grandma and Grandpa that lived close to us. These trips were always enjoyable as we were able to grow close to them and get raised around them. One particular trip I remember, my cousin and his family were visiting my Grandma and Grandpa and I was extremely excited to see him because we were around the same age and it was always fun being around each other. I still remember the excitement I felt as we pulled up to my Grandparents house and he ran out to see my family and I. We all went inside and talked for awhile before my cousin and I got bored and we decided that we were going to go downstairs to play with the toys that my Grandparents had in their basement. This lasted for about an hour before we got bored again and decided that we wanted to go outside. I still remember sliding the glass door open in the basement and running outside to see what adventures awaited us in the neighborhood. We walked up the hill and down the hill again before stopping at a house across the street from my Grandparents. Living in Washington means that there were always pine cones on the ground and we both got the bright idea that we should start throwing these pine cones at a window on the shed next to the house across the street. We threw hundreds of pine cones before we decided that rocks would be a better alternative. I don’t remember which one of us threw the first rock but the window was shattered to pieces in no time at all and the next thing I remember were our parents running outside to their horror to see that their kids had been dumb enough to shatter a window with rocks for no reason at all.
I don’t remember much else from that day besides the fact that I was sent to a room for the rest of the day to think about what I had done and why that was never an OK thing to do even though it had been a lot of fun. What followed next though is something that has stayed with me to this very day. It was about a week later that I went back to my Grandparents house with my family and my Dad told me to stay in the car because we were going on a special trip. We took a trip to the local Home Depot and my Father informed me that we were going to fix the window that had been destroyed and I was going to give a personal apology for what I had done. I felt horror strike into my body as the gears in my head turned and I realized that I was going to have to take responsibility for what I had done. Facing the people that owned that shattered window was something that I had absolutely no desire to do. I would have much rather sat in my room for the rest of the week than have to go and face those people but face those people I did and the lesson my parents taught me with that has stuck with me for my time since.
My parents taught me that we always take responsibility for our mistakes. After that day I think I was a much better child because the fear of having to take responsibility for anything stupid I did was always hanging over my head. It wasn’t until I became much older that I realized what a valuable lesson that was and how much it has shaped me today. Parents tend to have different methods of disciplining their children and it is really in the eye of the beholder if those methods are effective or not. My parents taught me to take responsibility and that in turn was enough discipline for me because I never wanted to experience facing somebody in that sort of a situation again. What worked for me though may not necessarily work for my children someday and I wouldn’t be foolish enough to expect that there is some sort of fool proof way that just forces kids to be good. I really feel like it depends on the child and that every child has their own unique method of discipline that is effective for them and it is really up to the parents to figure out what that method is. Just like in my case, my parents decided that having me fess up to the people whose window I shattered was a good idea and taught me that valuable lesson of responsibility.