Sunday, July 01, 2012


We took the Bambini Ride to the car wash not too long ago, an outing the bambini usually heartily enjoy.  Even without my glasses or contacts on I could tell that the wash we'd been through was not satisfactory, with soap left on the vehicle as well as dirt.  At first I thought I'd go rinse it myself at the quarter car wash, but that didn't seem right. So I called the car wash manager, explained the situation, and asked for a pass through to rinse off the vestiges of soap and dirt.  He said to bring it back, so we did.  He gave us a higher dollar car wash on his nickel than the one we'd purchased, and the Ride looks great (snack remnants on the inside notwithstanding; vacuuming wasn't part of the deal to begin with).

My dad has been known to describe himself as essentially lazy, preferring to do a good job the first time with the requisite preparation and seemingly extraneous attention to detail that makes for the best end result than having to go back and do the job over again.  He says he learned this the hard way, having to wash his grandmother's windows more than once when his first effort didn't pass her muster. I've had to redo some lackluster jobs of my own, and I always think of him saying that bit about him being lazy, which is the last word I would ever use to describe him.

Speaking up for myself to ask someone else to redo a job they did for me that wasn't good enough does not come easily for me, like so many other conversations with conflict potential.  I did it anyway.  It's part of the growing up I'm doing as a mother.

We all make mistakes.  We all might even cut corners from time to time for whatever reason.  Don't we all hope for the opportunity to do it over when we know we need to?  That's a tactic we've employed with our very young bambini -- the chance for "do overs" when they've mishandled a situation.  Second chances aren't just for toddlers learning how and when to use their "inside voice".  Adults need second chances sometimes, too.

The car wash conundrum may have been a first world problem (and an insignificant one at that), but it afforded a teachable moment for our bambini (and for me) about the inherent dignity in and importance of doing a good job at whatever task is at hand, to take pride in the work we do for the glory of God, and to hold ourselves and each other accountable for doing that kind of good work, accepting responsibility for when we don't quite make the grade.

That's what I tried to tell the bambini on our second pass through the car wash, but I think the colored foam, octopus-like brushes, and blow dryer might have drowned me out.  That's alright.  Perhaps the actions of speaking up, going back, and seeing the final fantastic result spoke for themselves.

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