I hate it when my best object lessons get thwarted!
When my kids were little, we were on our way to town when a “teachable moment” presented itself. There was a funeral procession passing by. Seizing the opportunity, I turned on the headlights and got in line.
As we were moving along with the rest of the cars, I offered a quarter to the first kid who spotted the U-Haul (which dates this story – today it would have to be $5!). Anticipating the prize, the kids began to crane their necks in an effort to find the sought-for vehicle. They spotted the hearse when it turned onto the highway, but looked in vain for the moving van.
When the cars turned into the cemetery, we moved on.
One of the kids said, “Hey! There wasn’t a U-Haul.”
“That’s right,” I responded. “There was no U-Haul because when you die, you don’t take anything with you. It all stays here and is given to someone else.
The only thing that goes with you are your relationships.
Remember this when you get older and are tempted to value what you own more than those you love.”
To be fair, I gave them each a quarter.
Imagine my dismay when, just a few weeks later, we drove by the funeral home. There was a hearse parked beside it.
Right behind it was –
you guessed it –
a Ryder Moving Van!
My kids, sharp as tacks and always alert to their surroundings, did not miss this fact. The oldest one piped up, “Hey, Mom, I thought you said they couldn’t take their stuff with them. What’s with the moving van?”
“They’re delivering caskets, Dear, not hauling the guy’s stuff so they can bury it with him,” I responded, laughing about the way this lesson had backfired.
Oh, the challenges of teaching our kids!
Originally published 4/12/13 on Lessons by Heart