Sometimes I just don’t know what my wife is thinking. Leaving me alone to watch a preschooler in a clothing store? That’s just poor discernment on her part. I really think the property damage was completely her fault.
The problem all started when we walked into Old Navy last weekend, and my seven-year-old had to go the restroom, which is tucked away in the back of the store. In the meantime I thought I’d scope out the shirts near the front entrance because I enjoy fine clothing that costs less than five dollars. My four-year-old, Kate, decided to stick with me. It had nothing to do with my company. She just wanted to play with the mannequins. When you walk in the door at our Old Navy they have a whole family of mannequins on display, a mom, dad and kids of various sizes. The smallest one is the exact same height as Kate, and from her perspective, she’s just a giant American Girl doll. As soon as her Mom was out of ear-shot, Kate asked, “Can I go see the little girl?” No problem, I thought, this will buy me a few minutes to look at t-shirts. What could possibly go wrong? So, I started browsing while trying to keep an eye on Kate. At one point I realized I hadn’t heard a peep out of her in awhile. Never a good sign with a preschooler. When I looked up, I spotted her wrestling the tiny mannequin. It looked like she was trying to hold up a drunk. She’d somehow pulled it off its stand and couldn’t get it back on. I went over to try to rescue her, but things just went from bad to worse. When I tried to pick up the mannequin, I somehow ripped off its head and sent it rolling across the floor. I’m not even kidding. Do you know how loud a mannequin head sounds rolling across tile? For my follow up act, I grabbed the mannequin again and yanked off an arm. The remaining pieces crashed to the ground. In a period of ten seconds I’d unleashed total chaos on Old Navy so I did the only thing I could think to do. I threw my daughter under the bus. “Honey, what did you do?” I said in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. I’m not proud of it, but that’s what I did. Chalk it up to a cowardly gut reaction. She looked at me in disbelief as if to say, “Me? I didn’t do this!” You ever notice when things go wrong, we have a tendency to blame other people, blame our circumstances, blame anything other than ourselves? This is nothing new. When God showed up in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, the first thing Adam did was start the blame game. “Don’t look at me, God,” Adam said. “It’s the woman’s fault. Remember, the woman YOU put here.” Then Eve said, “Don’t look at me. It was the snake. The devil made me do it.” And on and on and on we’ve continued down the same road. The last thing any of us likes to do is admit our weaknesses or mistakes and apologize for the times we’ve blown it. Finding a scapegoat is always so much easier than taking responsibility for our own actions. Ironically, the only person who never needed a scapegoat willingly became a scapegoat. By dying on the cross, Jesus took the fall for all of us, and changed the dynamics of the blame game forever. When you’ve been forgiven by God, there’s no reason to blame others for your mistakes because your embarrassment and shame have been removed. With that in mind I apologized to my daughter, and we somehow got the dismembered mannequin put back together again. If there’s one thing this mannequin incident taught me, though, is that when you do something dumb, you might as well own up to it. After all, there’s no use losing your head. Image: ‘children inside the spaceship‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/59525924@N05/6722824353