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Musings from Behind the Couch

Grimm's Musings: What We Learned in Kindergarten

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H.R. Grimm is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
April 11, 2016 | 691 views | Post a comment

As children we were taught many things to survive and grow. Hopefully, we learned the basics like to wait our turn, say please and thank you, share, forgive and to play fair. Yet, as we have aged we have found that sometimes life isn’t fair and it takes all we can muster to maintain a facade of pleasantry amid inner strife. As time has passed we have found that some of life’s lessons were more correct than we could have ever thought while other things were so, so wrong. One of these is the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Alas, how painful words can be and their sting lasts long after a physical wound may heal.

Words are discharged bullets and explosive charges that we cannot ever take back and the damage done often maims beyond what can be seen. Like toxins escaping to waft across an unsuspecting populace so are words spoken in haste are poison.

Tonight I witnessed a chill escaping from inside a home that matched the chill in the autumn air. As I was forced to listen to unmuffled shouts and accusations I braced myself against the pain I saw and heard. Memories of a warmer time for those within this house are like forgotten pictures and knick-knacks collecting dust along walls and shelves. Most of us who live close to this house can easily hear the harsh voices inside rising with intensity as if forecasting another storm’s arrival. As the outside chilled breezes made the smallest ones scurry for cover so one could only hope the same of the little one’s within this home.

Tonight the all too familiar tone was heard again as the latest gale burst through the front door when the man hurriedly left and yelled back through the doorway, “You’re always complaining about something!” His steps from the front door to car were few but pronounced. He jerked open the car door, threw himself behind the wheel and slammed the car door shut making the whole car shake violently. As he sat there with his hands gripping the top of the steering wheel, he rested his forehead against the back of his hands. The casual observer could tell he was trying to calm himself before he drove away. As he reached over to start the car he sat back and one could see the anguish on his face that revealed a weariness of one who has endured many battles.

It hadn’t always been like this as I knew them in a happier time. It seems like only yesterday they moved into their home. This young couple carried hope for the future in everything they did. There was laughter in their voices, as well as, that new marriage gazing at each other as they portrayed the devotion that one hears about in bed time stories. Back then they seemed to always be doing things together, going places, entertaining friends and building a life that would allow them to grow old together. In time, their children arrived and even amid the expanding responsibilities they seemed to count these little ones as gifts from God as rewards. Everyone who met them and all of us who lived close by them found them to be a bright spot on our street.

But something happened that tarnished the joy while attacking the core of their love. Left unfettered it ate away at their foundation resulting into the ugliness that I witnessed again tonight. I am afraid this little family isn’t the only one I know like this. I see it too often and what is so tragic is that it can be avoided.

Oh, it wasn’t some lurid affair. It isn’t some dark secret from the past. It isn’t some meddling in-law. It is so simple that it escapes the casual observer.

It is finances.

Plain and simple, it is money.

Check the statistics. The number one reason couples fight, argue, disagree, fuss and fume is over money. Not necessarily the lack of money but how the money that is at hand is spent.

It isn’t going to do anyone any good to point out which gender is the most at fault and it will surprise you if you don’t know already. But lest I delve into too much that tidbit of information, let me bring you back to this little family.

There was a time when they both worked and they both shared the responsibilities of home and children. There was a time when they both talked about what they had money for and what they didn’t have money for. But sometimes, the lure of monthly payments is more than common sense can drown out and all too often too many payment purchases make a home possessed.

He felt that he was entitled to make a purchase and she laid claim that she was entitled too. The items purchased are not the cause; by the time an item has demanded to be purchased the core of togetherness has already been broken. You can hear it in the arguing over the remote, the sense of invading when a child wants his parent, taking out the garbage or some other reason. The times of entertaining are given to slouching in a chair and the course of conversations are between commercials and sitcoms. This isn’t a home, it’s a movie theater!

And yet, it isn’t even the purchases that are causing the problem as these are merely fillers. It is the way the money is selfishly handled that shows the splintering of the two-as-one into two living as two.

Remember kindergarten? Do you remember the sharing, the rest times, the responsibility to someone else (like Mom or Dad) and the sense of security that possessed us in our youth? It is this returning to the learned basics like waiting our turn, saying please and thank you, sharing and forgiving and playing fair that will bring us back on course.

It is only by returning to the basics of a little child that we can find and keep that happiness.

If you are struggling, find a little child and let them lead you. hrg
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