You know Caleb, the kid who lived by the mantra ‘I don’t wanna, I don’t hafta, I’m not gonna.’
Remember how at bedtime, after a particularly bad day, his mom asked him that big I wonder question.
‘I wonder, Caleb, what would it be like if everyone acted like you?’
Caleb’s first thought was that it would be great, but he soon realized that if his dad, mom, and teachers were all stomping their feet and going ‘I don’t wanna, I don’t hafta, I’m not gonna,’ it was going to be awful, not just for him but for everyone.
There wouldn’t be milk in the fridge because his dad wouldn’t wanna grocery shop. He’d be walking on his own to school, because his mom wouldn’t wanna take him. And when he got there, it would be for nothing because the teachers wouldn’t wanna teach. Augh.
Right then and there, lying in bed, he decided that the next day would be different and he got really curious about what might happen.
Well, this is the story of what happened!
Caleb got up the next morning and filled a big bowl with dry cereal. He walked up to the fridge, opened the door, and there was the milk, right there, waiting for him! He had never thought about how great it was to find it there each morning. Pouring it over his cereal, he watched the milk swirl around the bowl and lift the yummy bits of cereal. He swallowed a big spoonful just as his father entered the room.
‘Dad, thanks for shopping!’
‘Ummm, you’re welcome Caleb,’ he responded, somewhat surprised. ‘You feeling okay?’
After finishing his breakfast, brushing his teeth, and packing his bag, he found his mother sipping her coffee. ‘Well,’ she said, draining the last drop, ‘it looks like someone’s ready for school.’
As they walked out the door, Caleb realized that it was pretty cool to have this time with his mom every day. He was fairly sure that she had other things she could do instead. Half way to school, he decided to let her know.
‘Mom, thanks for taking me!’
‘Ummm, you’re welcome Caleb,’ she responded, also surprised. ‘You feeling okay?’
And so it went for the rest of the day. Caleb noticed things he’d never paid attention to before. He liked how it felt to thank people, even if they occasionally looked at him funny.
As he noticed more and more and more, his day became better and better and better.
Until it didn’t.
After school in the park, Caleb was taking turns going down his most favourite slide in the whole world, when his dad told him that he could have one last turn before heading home.
‘I don’t wanna go home,’ Caleb screamed. ‘I don’t hafta. I’m not g…’
The words had come out of no-where. He wanted to take them back but they were already ringing in his ears. Tears welled up in his eyes. It felt like his whole day came crashing down around him.
‘Caleb, are you okay?’
He wasn’t. He didn’t want his last turn down the slide. He just wanted to go home.
That night when he got into bed. His mind began to churn. The day had been going so well. Where had the words come from? What if he couldn’t change?
His mom arrived for the tuck-in. ‘Still not okay, huh?’
Caleb shook his head.
She sat down beside him, ‘I know you’re disappointed. That’s going to happen sometimes when we try to change our habits. The most important thing is to keep trying.’ She kissed him on the head and added, ‘Don’t forget how good you got at noticing things today. I wonder what you’re going to notice next?’
At first Caleb frowned, not able to think of a single good thing.
Until he did.
Out of no-where, he noticed that after a big day with great stuff and yuck stuff, it sure felt good to be kissed goodnight on the forehead.
Maybe the day hadn’t been quite so bad after all. Maybe he would be okay.
Do you think he tried again the next day?