The answer is obvious if I tell you that the owners of that living room have 3 kids.
It’s even more obvious if I tell you that the dad was left in charge of those kids for the day.
A “no brainer” if I tell you that it was the opening Saturday of the college football season.
Given those facts, it was inevitable that a tortilla would end up in the middle of the living room floor. In reality, how could it not? It was almost predetermined. But for some reason, it was hard to articulate the appropriate response to that question when posed by my wife upon her early return home one Saturday.
Tortilla Frisbee? Nope. That wouldn’t go over well.
Tortilla art project? Nah. She’ll never go for it.
Wait. I’ve got it. It’s part of the new Common Core curriculum. Using tortillas to teach our 3rd grade daughter multiplication? That might actually work.
The Metaphorical Tortillas – Strange And Unexpected Events
We all experience our own metaphorical tortillas in the middle of the living room floor. Those strange and unexpected events that seem to come out of nowhere. They creep into our personal lives. They infiltrate our professional lives. External forces cause some. Others are caused by our own mistakes and miscalculations. Some are just funny. But some are incredibly painful. Many of us work hard to minimize the occurrence of these unanticipated events. But tortillas inevitably end up in the middle of the living room floor.
Teaching Our Kids To Deal With Unexpected Events
As parents, we’re charged with the task of teaching our children how to excel amidst the tortillas. There is arguably no greater skill to impart upon our kids than the ability to intellectually and emotionally navigate through life’s unexpected events. It’s impossible to anticipate the path they’ll chose. We cannot predict the individual challenges they’ll face. But we know the tortillas will come. So we prepare them as best we can.
Have you ever watched 4 year olds play “organized” soccer? Our family is on our second round. First it was my daughter. Now it’s my son. Everything about the game is a metaphorical tortilla in the middle of the floor for these young all stars. Every single second is a little lesson in navigating through a maze of unexpected events.
Cleats. Shin guards. Long socks. Wet grass. The lines on the field. The absence of hands. The roaming herd of little bodies. Bumping into each other. Bodies falling down. Taking the ball away. Crying. Coming out of the game. Sitting on the bench. Making water come out of a water bottle. Coming back into the game. It’s all new and unexpected to them.
We, the parents, are confined to our pop up chairs on the sideline. We shout instructions from afar in hopes of helping. We stand ready to swoop in should anything go terribly wrong. But we understand the importance of providing these little ones with the opportunity to navigate through this maze of unexpected events on their own.
So each Saturday we fill up the water bottle. We put on the shin guards. And we make sure they go pee before we release them onto the soccer field. We pop up our chairs and we bake in the sun. We cheer. We cheer for the act of getting on the field. We cheer for the simple execution of getting water out of a water bottle. We cheer for the rumbling, stumbling, break away goals, not with visions of World Cup appearances in our head. But because when thrown into a maze of unexpected events, our kids figured it out and excelled.
And we, as their parents, know how well that skill will serve them.
Jake Harner Cain – U4 Pirates – Fall 2014 – “Got the water out of the water bottle and scored a few goals. Nice job Jakey.”