Choosing Second Chances

Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I embarked on a camping adventure with our 14-year old grandson.  Well, it wasn’t really camping like sleeping in a tent.   It was cabin camping at a very nicely manicured campground with lots of “free” activities such as paddle boats, peddle carts, miniature golf, and fishing.  The pool, however, was our favorite, at least for the youngest among us.

Obviously, using the pool required a change of clothes which required (in this instance) fetching swim gear from the loaded van and making an apparel switch in a restroom.  “Here are the keys, grandson, go get what you need out of the van.”  In record time, the clothing shift occurred and our 14-year old splashed into the deep end.

But the van keys!  Where are the van keys?  No where to be found.  Surely they are laying placidly on the gravel path from the van to the restroom and pool.  Retracing our steps at least 5+ times produced no such results.  Hubby even checked the restroom.  No keys!

Well aware of my husband’s absent mindedness and a teen’s one track mind, I finally decide to visit the men’s restroom myself.  Guess where the keys were!  On top of the paper tissue dispenser.  Yep, right there!

After lunch there was just enough time to go shopping at the well-stocked camp store.  Naturally, grandson needs his money safely stowed in the van which is now locked.  “Here are the keys, grandson, go get what you need out of the van.”  Really?  You’re taking a risk on loosing the keys again!?  You bet!  It’s about learning responsibility through being given a second chance.

It was relatively easy to give my grandson a second chance but to do that for myself…not so much.  Why is that?  Why do many of us insist on perfection in ourselves while extending grace to someone else?  Let’s just say that a majority of human beings are conditioned from earliest years to do things right, properly, and the way someone else, typically parents, want it to be done.  Thus we develop a host of “should’s” regulating various aspects of our thoughts and behaviors.  No wonder we end up “shoulding” ourselves throughout an average day.  “I should clean up my room.”  “I should stop eating ice cream so I can fit into these jeans.”  Good luck with that one!

How about….”I should stop “shoulding” myself?”  Oops!  Let’s reframe that.  “I will extend grace to myself when tempted to apply the “should” statement, appreciate what I’m learning in this experience, and give myself a second chance.”  We are all in the process of becoming our best selves and that takes time and intentionality.  Easy does it!  Allow yourself another go at it and in the meantime treat yourself like the awesome human being you are.