First, let me say that I am definitely the kinda person who believes in second chances. And depending on the person, I may even give a third chance. But something happened recently that made me start to wonder about this whole “chance-giving” thing.
Today, my son asked me if he could take a toy with him to school. I couldn’t give him an answer right away. Yesterday, he’d taken this same toy with him to school and, unfortunately, he forgot it. (Well, he’s 8, so naturally he’ll forget his stuff sometimes.) I was upset, however, because the toy was a gift for his birthday last weekend, and I didn’t want it to be lost. Not cool! I had told him he can’t take his toys to school with him anymore, even though we went back to his school and it was found. Still, as a person who gives second chances, I was not prepared to say “no” right away.
But I couldn’t say “yes,” either.
Just yesterday, I was grumbling over how I’ve come across so many people who have a problem with giving people – mainly, me – a second chance after screwing up in some way or another. I know I am not perfect. I know I make mistakes. My friends – my REAL friends – know that I make mistakes. I get clumsy. I’ll have my head in the clouds. I walk right past them without recognizing them or seeing them. I say awkward shit. And, oh yeah, I SWEAR! LOL They know ALL that about me, and they have forgiven these goofs when they have come up. And we're still friends!
But, lately, I posted something on Facebook that apparently offended somebody and he unfriended me. Let me say that I know this guy in real life. I don’t know him TOO well, but we’ve been friends a long time. Well, I THOUGHT we were friends. I guess I only had to screw up one time to lose his friendship. Upon realizing this, I got angry and was all like, “Fuck him! I don’t have room in my life for fake friends, anyway!” No, I want REAL friends. And my real friends know that I screw up every once in a while. It happens! Nobody’s perfect. The important thing is, they forgive and forget. This person didn’t.
I was grumbling about that yesterday, because it reminded me that that dude was just ONE more of the many people I have met in my life who decide they want to walk out of it if I screw up once. Just! Once! One mistake, and they’re gone!
I wanted to know why these people don’t believe in giving second chances. Or even third chances.
But I know that everybody is different. Just because I believe in giving a person another chance (and I’ll only go so far with that!), I know it doesn’t mean everybody else does that, too. I have been lucky to have friends who give chances. I give them chances, too. But I know other people just don’t do that. For them, if someone makes one mistake, even if it was by accident or unintentional or because they were having a “blond moment” or they were drunk or something, they walk out of that person’s life for good. They won’t talk to them or answer their emails or anything.
There are just people like that.
And when I was fuming over it yesterday, I started to wonder. Should I start being like that, too? I mean, I am sick of all the bullshit I have had to deal with from PEOPLE. That is one reason why I am not social. Too many people in this world are jerks and they just suck. So maybe that was actually something I should start doing.
Or, so I thought. Getting back to the situation with my son, I started to ask myself why I was allowing jerks to influence me like that. Just because someone is that way, it doesn’t mean I should be that way, too.
No, I had to keep on being me. Keep doing what I’m doing. Just do my own thing.
And my own thing includes giving second chances. Especially where my children are concerned.
Besides, I reasoned, how was my son going to learn how to be responsible for his stuff if he isn’t given the chance to do so? If I told him no, I would be telling him two things: That you can’t give someone a second chance to make things right, and that he can’t learn how to be responsible for his things when he’s away from home because he can’t take his things with him.
Those were not very good messages I wanted to teach him.
So, I said “yes” – but on one condition. He had to be responsible for his toy. He had to take care of it and keep it with him or in his backpack or in his cubby. I stressed to him that he was lucky to get the toy back yesterday, but that might not happen again today. If he lost it again today, it might be lost forever. He said he was willing to take that chance. So I let him take his toy with him to school. And when I dropped him off, I reminded him about it.
Well, after I picked him up this afternoon, he had his toy with him. I gave him a high five and told him I was proud of him for being responsible with his things. I told him he’d done a good job and that I was glad he didn’t lose his toy. Yeah, he was glad, too.
And I’m glad this happened, because it only reinforced my decision. Yeah, I’m gonna keep on giving people second chances. Or even third chances. I’m gonna just keep doing what I’m doing, even if it’s not what everybody else is doing. That’s their thing, and this is mine.