One of the many things that 12-year-old boys need to learn is the difference between practical jokes versus foolishness. According to Webster’s dictionary a joke is "something said or done to cause laughter.” Foolishness is defined as “having or showing a lack of good sense or judgment.”
Many of you know that our firstborn son, Brandon, died after a bike accident. When I found him on the ground (dead), the first thing I said to him was, “Brandon, stop fooling around. You’re scaring me.” I hoped and prayed at the time he was joking around. Brandon had a history of teasing and pretending to be hurt or dead. He once got in our Christmas tree box, crossed his arms over and closed his eyes, pretending to be dead in a casket. At the time, it made me cringe to see him lying there in the box, and I quickly said, “Brandon, quit that. Get out of the box.” Surely he was just a boy and “boys will be boys,” but not even a month later, he truly was dead in a casket. That memory is still burned in my mind. While I have a good sense of humor and enjoy laughing at a good joke, that somehow wasn’t funny to me.
Last night I was inside watching a horse movie with the girls. Matthew was outside playing with the neighborhood boys. The door bell rang and outside was Matthew hunched over holding his stomach moaning and groaning. Then he spewed what appeared to be vomit from his mouth and he continued with this behavior. Panic set in my gut. My arms tingled. I reached for my phone to dial 911. I panicked as I recalled I would not be able to reach Tim for several hours as he was in route flying home from a business trip. The day Brandon died, I could not reach Tim for several hours either. To this day, any time I cannot reach Tim, I panic. Last night my breathing picked up and I broke into a cold sweat. My heart palpitated. Thankfully the neighborhood boy started laughing and Matthew soon followed in rolling laughter. He was fine. It was a practical joke. Only I wasn’t laughing. The girls were not laughing. It took me a good hour to calm my nerves so I could call him inside and then speak coherently to him.
I sat him down and explained to him, that not even a week ago he did a similar joke about getting critically hurt and Daddy spoke to him then about jokes like that not being funny. Tim explained then if he ever actually was hurt or sick we may not believe him. He explained how Brandon did the same thing and it wasn’t funny back then either. Tim explained he is not allowed to pretend to be sick or hurt again.
I asked Matthew if he thought it was funny that he scared me so bad and that I almost called the police and the ambulance. He burst into tears, “No ma’am” he answered. I emphasized that if it happens again, we are coming down on him hard. “Yes, ma’am. I understood this scared you (and it is) not funny,” he responded after he saw the tears in my eyes as well.
This is the second time that he has pulled this “hurt” foolishness, but he’s played MANY other tasteless and foolish jokes on the girls. He’s even lied about an intruder coming into the house which scared the girls so bad they slept in our room for almost a week.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but correction shall drive it far from him.” Our goal is to teach our son the difference between jokes where both parties think it’s funny and can laugh and what foolishness is. We want to teach him to make good friend choices so he is influenced wisely and not influenced in foolishness. Lying and faking illnesses/injuries is foolish. Disobedience or deceit to make others laugh is foolish. It is a difficult job for us as his parents because we both love a sense of humor. We joke and tease the kids as well. Matthew is really a very funny boy and he contributes well to making our home fun and happy. We don’t want to squash his spirit or ruin his sense of humor. We just need to figure out how to direct him to have better taste in his humor. We want to raise our son to have good self control and to be wise. Pray for us and we navigate through this.
|Our big GOOF BALL!!! Matthew "modeling" his pajama bottoms and Katie's Sperry's shoes|
On a lighter note, Haley told Matthew last night he's "eye candy." (Seriously, where'd she learn that terminology? She’s only 9!! I don't particularly care for that language.) He answered, "Disgusting, I don't have candy in da eye! You're eye candy!" Haley, "Thanks! In English 'eye candy' means you're CUTE." Matthew: "Oh, you're no candy in da eye." Haley shrugs. Never mind. Language barriers.