One Saturday afternoon, my 10-year-old chose to tackle a melted crayon art project we saw on Pinterest. We gathered a few supplies, talked through a few quick instructions, and he got started.
Before too long, I was off in another direction and he began hot gluing crayons onto the poster board. I heard the blow dryer in the background and thought, “Check him out. He figured out a way to hang the poster and he is going to town. Love that independent spirit!”
Excited to see how the project was coming, I unsuspectingly walked out to the backyard. I found the poster board pinned to the house on either side of the kitchen window. On the ground just beneath the window and poster was the couch cushion from our outdoor furniture.
Standing on the cushion, with the blow dryer in hand was my independent kiddo smiling and innocently spraying melted crayon wax everywhere. It was on the stucco, window frame, blow dryer, and was steadily dripping down the poster board onto the couch cushion.
Now, I know you can’t see it, but WOW—it was a mess! All those feeling of admiration and affection shifted to frustration and anger as I did what came most naturally. I yelled, “Aaaaah!! What do you think you are you doing!?”
But let’s pause for a minute. Remember—I knew what he was doing. I had left him to figure out a plan….and he did it. It just wasn’t the tidy adult plan I had in my head.
The happiness and joy of the moment disappeared in an instant. His eyes welled up with tears and all the confidence from a moment before was gone. Stunned, he stared up at me.
All I could do was yell, “I’m so angry right now I need a minute to cool off. I’ll be back.” I turned to go back in the house, and just before I slammed the door, heard a tiny voice say, “I’m just doing my project.”
The rest of the family was sitting in the kitchen staring at me as I walked in. Their faces confirmed what I already knew—my reaction was out of line. It wasn’t the frustration or emotion I felt that was the problem, but my reactivity to it. I lost sight of my son.
All I could see in that moment was the mess—the huge mess! These moments sneak up on us. Fear takes over, we react with anger and hostility, then later feel regret and shame. This is where the Re-Do comes in. We have to lay down a new pattern in our brain. It takes practice. So here’s how I put the Re-Do into action.