Hey Dads! Have you ever noticed your kids copying you? Maybe you do something smart and they repeat it. Or maybe you do something else and they repeat that. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Speaking of snapping turtles, here’s what happened when one of my kids copied dear old dad and the minor injuries that followed…
We were on our way to visit friends in Everett, just south of Springwater. They live on an old country road just up the hill from a marshy wet swampy spot. As we drove by one of us noticed a small-to-midsize turtle meandering across the road. I thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids to get a good close-up look at the little guy. I slammed on the brakes and turned around at the next driveway we came to.
As we approached the turtle for the second time we noticed it was a snapping turtle. Even more fun! I quickly pushed from my mind all the warnings I had heard about approaching snapping turtles over the last 40 years. What could possibly go wrong? I hopped out of the van and my not-so-little trail of ducklings jumped out behind me. I don’t know if they just wanted to see the turtle or had some great anticipation of fatherly injury.
Being the fast, quick and somewhat show-offy dad that I am, it seemed a good idea for me to try and touch the snapping turtle’s shell. Now I’ve learned a thing or two in my many years so I knew touching a snapping turtle’s shell at the front had the potential for injurious results. I cleverly snuck up behind it and tapped the back of the shell. “See that kids? Easy peasy!”
My son Sterling immediately copied his dad and tapped the back of the shell. We should have quit while we were ahead. The next person in line was my daughter, Pearl, four years old at the time. She had not learned a thing or two in her few years. She reached out her tiny hand right beside the snapping turtle’s head to touch the shell!
Screaming, shouting and panic ensued as the appropriately named turtle snapped out and grabbed ahold of her little thumb in its savage beaky mouth. Pearl instinctively recoiled her arm and now had the turtle literally hanging off the end of it. Dad to the rescue! Actually not. Big sister to the rescue! Our 12-year-old daughter, Florence, channeled her inner ninja turtle and karate kicked that snapper to kingdom come! Well, to the side of the road anyways where he contentedly wandered away. Pearl was crying and I expected to find a mangled mess where her thumb once was. But God had His hand on little Pearl that afternoon because there was only a small scratch where the turtle had stubbornly held on.
I was relieved that she was okay and relieved that my foolish fatherly example had not resulted in the loss of anyone’s appendages. Be careful what you do dads! Small people are watching! And copying! Time flies. Make every moment count!
Jason Weening tries to do things with his nine kids that don’t result in injury to them (or him if possible). You can read about some of those things at www.heydads.ca.