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The TV Lesson

Teachings of a Three Year Old

by Hal Evan Caplan
May 18, 2008

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The TV Lesson
My son three year old son teaches me lessons all the time. Some I see right away, but most I do not. Sometimes I am humbled and feel very embarrassed because it's a lesson on something that I should know, but had to be reminded. On occasion I am tested, teased, and even wro...wro...Ok, so I'm a guy and I'll admit, for most of us it is difficult to admit when we are (long pause here) wrong.

My wife and I were getting my teacher ready for bed one night and he was winding down. He had been a good boy and asked if he could watch a little TV before bed, so we agreed. Just as I turned on the Disney Channel, the preview of the next show had just finished.

All we knew was that a movie about "Bears" was about to start. I was certain it was called the "Bernstein Bears". My three year old teacher quickly jumped in and stated that it was not, as he put it, called the "Bensto Bears".

"Yes, I believe it is called that." I said.
"Na-ah." He mumbled.
"YES it is." I confidently expressed.

I suddenly found myself debating, no, betting, with my three year teacher...depending on how you look at it. I had to go one better, because I "knew" I was right.

"Okay, I'm so sure that the movie is called the Bernstein Bears that if I am wrong, I will let you stay up past your bedtime so you can watch the whole movie." I continued, "If I am right you WILL go to bed on time without complaining about it. DEAL?" I stated.

"What's a deal?" He asked.
So I explained what a deal is...and how it works.
"Deal." He concluded.

Take one guess who won that little friendly wager. Here's a hint, NOT ME. Yes, I was wrong and believe me, I never heard the end of it. My three year old teacher laughed at me as he performed his rendition of the "I'm-right-you're-wrong" dance. For the record, the movie was called "The Country Bears", which is based on the Country Bear Jamboree show at Disney World and Disney Land.

My three year old teacher won the bet and therefore was allowed to stay up late to watch the movie. Apparently he loved that movie because his eyes were glued to the show and his mouth was slightly propped open throughout the entire thing. I'm sure if I looked hard enough, I could spot drool flowing out the sides.

When a commercial would air, I was back in the line of fire and found myself witness to round two, three and so on, of his special dance. Oh, and yes I did have to bite my tongue even though I was getting mocked.

Of course I was going to take every chance I got to defend myself and prove that I was right. "Well, it had the word 'bears' in the title." I expressed, reaching and hoping that my teacher would accept that answer to be at least a partially correct answer.

"Doesn't count." He confidently replied.

I began to feel my gage going into the red zone. I am not the best at accepting that I am wrong...just ask my wife, she will tell you that. I blurted out that the whole thing was lame.

"Well, you're lame." My teacher blurted out.
I noticed that he was starting to get a little fired up as well. Luckily, my wife was in the room and she gave me a look. I read that look loud and clear. It was one of those; your-son-is three-and-you-are-an-adult looks. After watching what was going on, she too noticed that my teacher was starting to get really bent out of shape as well.

She decided to do her magic and proactively gave her two cents worth in order to make sure nothing got out of control. She mentioned to my teacher that when someone is wrong and they know it, they should admit to being wrong in the first place.

Then my teacher turned to me.
"Yeah-dad."
"Yeah-what?" I asked, knowing perfectly well where this was going.
"When you are wrong in the first place, you are wrong!" He exclaimed.

The message was loud and clear. I apologized and admitted that I was wrong, and we finished watching the movie together.

In a nutshell, the lesson I learned that day is: It is okay to admit when you are wrong.

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PO BOOKS BY HAL EVAN CAPLAN
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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