Luck or Consequence?
You should remember that I have a step-son, A-. He’s now 12, and he has been in my house for over two years. For right or wrong, most nights, as my wife (his mother) and I lay in bed, about to fall asleep, I recount, let’s say, “areas for improvement” in his day. So many lies, so much disobedience, so much unthinkingness. He’s not hell-bent, but he has severe low self-esteem and until me, has never apparently had an adult teach him anything, let alone the big things. Making matters worse, he’s been guessing wrong and drawing wrong conclusions with his own brain—itself a testament to how incapable a human is to just “get it” without proper breeding.
Anyhow, as you also know, I fly helicopters professionally and of the EMS sort. Recently, I was able to attend a drag racing event as the “on duty”, “fly out the injured driver or fan” pilot. Well, one of the perks of this event was I got to go down to the start line and be as close to the car as anyone, well, anyone except the driver.
I’m telling you, it was like a bomb went off when the lights turned green. I feared for my own life.
In other words, it was awesome.
Later that shift, I flew an actual patient of a bicyclist vs. car event and then I had a long drive home. Long day.
Pretty much went directly to bed. And while there, I’m showing the wife videos of the crazy races and explaining the unimaginable experience of being right there (and having flown in to the event, all while being on the clock) and, because she she knows I like Nascar among other reasons, she says, “Lucky you.”
Lucky me? I’m at the race and being teated as VIP because I’m fortunate?
Sorry, my wife. Maybe it’s fortunate that that shift was open and I was able to fill it. Maybe it’s fortunate that the other helicopter that was supposed to be there was weathered in and we were sent until they could replace us. But the reason that pilots get these uncommon opportunities is pure consequence of consistent application of self-control, obedience, perseverance, attention to detail, service, and the list goes on.
The moment sticks in my craw because of my step-son. I’m the only adult in his life that holds him accountable, that gives him consequences, that tells him unrelentingly that “this behavior caused this consequence” and this means that I’ve created in him a fight. He has all the rest of you just neglecting him, just letting him believe in some bastardized version of “fortune” when it comes to how life unfolds in one corner. And he has me, in the other. I’m strict. I’m probably terrifying. And I talk to him more than anyone he knows. But I’m also alone. Me and my helicopter and my videos of cars exploding off the planet. 9 years of everyone, followed by 2+ years of everyone vs. one man who seems lucky. What do you think? Who’s he gonna choose to stick with?
Good things happen as consequences, and nominal and bad things happen as consequences.
Bear in mind, I’m not saying, I, Captain Pete, deserve good things, deserve good consequences. I am saying that when they happen, it is definitely and certainly due to past performance.
I saw the same images of who gets to be where at sporting events as I grew up that you all saw too. Celebrities and the wealthy have their places in the arena, and so do those of us who prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.
But enough. I wrote this as a conversation piece. I’m curious, what do you think? Is my wife right? Am I just lucky? Or am I right? Was my front row experience the consequence of past behavior.
Lastly, help a brotha’ out. Give the kids in your, ahem, “sphere of influence” consequences.
We also had a tough kid – he was adopted when he was six months old and threw that in our face along with the really bad behavior. All I can say is never give up, do the best you can, and keep reminding him that you love him. I often told him I didn’t like him much because of his behavior. but I loved him and always would. He has a baby of his own now, and often tells us how glad he is that we didn’t give up on him.
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