My boys have a hard time understanding that accidents happen. For spilled milk and missed turns, they demand a reason.
I have a theory on this. I’m sure you’re familiar with that automatic “It wasn’t my fault” reaction when
• Something gets broken
• Someone gets broken
• Something nasty ends up someplace it doesn’t belong
A child, particularly a boy child, learns to say “Was an ackydent, Mommy” about the same time he learns basic cause and effect principles. Like, if I pull on the table cloth, everything on the table comes crashing down on Mommy’s newly cleaned floor. Or, if I whack my brother with a toy hammer, he cries.
“Accident” to a little boy means, “I did it, but I don’t want to get in trouble.”
This is why, last week, my boys had trouble understanding when we explained that our family doctor had a hiking accident and broke his kneecap. We stated that we needed to pray for Dr. Vogt to get better, and Chunky quickly agreed. “I’ll pray for Dr. Vogt.”
But when it came to bedtime prayers, we found ourselves explaining once again.
Me: Dr. Vogt fell and broke his knee.
Kory: Maybe he slipped or tripped.
Kory: We don’t know. It was an accident.
Monkey: Maybe somebody pushed him.
Let me take a time-out to say that Dr. Vogt is in the running for Man of the Year every year. It’s hard to imagine a kinder person. I’ve called him after hours, panicked about Chunky’s Croup. He’s helped Monkey with his fear of shots by screaming right along with him. Just a few weeks ago, he and his wife visited Mom in the hospital, not just in a medical capacity, but as friends.
So my response to Monkey went something like this: No one on the face of the earth would ever push Dr. Vogt!!
Chunky pipes up: Maybe it was a raccoon.
Then, in Chunky’s typical creative style, he improvised a story about a “bad, mean raccoon” who climbed out of his tree, snuck up behind Dr. Vogt, and pushed him over a cliff!
Since then, Chunky has added a raccoon hero to the tale. Apparently, this masked, vigilante coon is even now, scouring the foothills for Dr. Vogt’s attacker. Rest easy, citizen hikers. Super Raccoon is on the job!
We all got a chuckle out of Chunky’s version of the accident, and we’re very thankful that our favorite doctor is on the mend.
Here’s a picture of him smiling after he hiked back down the mountain with his broken knee.