Tom Foolery Tuesday: The Psychology of Good Behavior

I have sucked at posting here lately, but I really do have a good excuse: a few of the keys on my desktop keyboard (namely letters d, n, s, t, and u) work only intermittently. Once I discover that they are working, I have to hurry up and do whatever work I can before they conk out again. I know that I should probably just break down and buy another one, but I have one of those curved ones, and they aren’t all that cheap. Not only that, but the same letters went capoot on my last keyboard. I am sensing a pattern here.

At any rate, I was sitting on the sofa reading yesterday when my daughter kept bouncing around in front of me. It was obvious that she was trying to get my attention, so I set my book down and asked her what she needed. “I learned how to behave,” she told me. “Oh?” I raised my eyebrows, intrigued. “Yes,” she said very matter-of-factly. “See, there are two little tiny people in my head. One is on the left, and one is on the right. The one on the right helps me make good decisions, but the one on the left encourages me to make bad ones.” “I see,” I said, trying to keep the smile off my face. “Well, you remember when you told me I couldn’t have Italian ice because I was swinging on the curtains?” she asked. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that one. She continued:” The person on the left was the one who made me do it. So she should be the one who doesn’t get Italian ice. I learned not to listen to that girl anymore. She is nothing but trouble.”

She waited patiently after delivering her explanation for me to deliberate. I sucked in a breath and explained to her that I also have two little ladies in my head. The one on the left encourages me to let bad deeds go unpunished, because she wants my kids to grow up to be monsters. The little lady on the right encourages me to follow through on punishment, because it will make my children better people in the end. I have learned not to listen to the trouble maker on the left, because things go terribly when I do. Needless to say, Thing One did not get her Italian ice that day.

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