Monday, March 12, 2012

Integrity For Sale

So.  We lied to our kids this past week.  I am not exactly sure how I feel about it but I do know that I am not going to undo the lie.  Here is the scenario...

About six months ago we bought a beta fish.  He is cute.  He is black and orange so we appropriately named him Pistol Pete in honor of the OSU Cowboys.  As we were checking out all of the fish at Petco we talked about what it means to be a fish owner.  We discussed the feeding, cleaning, and even dying.  Everyone was on board with buying the fish.  I made sure I emphasized that fish do not live forever and that more than likely our fish would die.  #1 and #2 were wide eyed and positive that they were ok with all that came with being a fish owner.  #3 just sat in the cart screeching "fish fish fish".  It was settled.  We bought the fish.

Now fast forward to last week.  Pete was not looking so hot.  He was a funny color and he kept floating to the top and hanging out on his side.  I knew this was not a good sign.  After dinner one night we called the boys over to the bowl and started pointing out how Pete looked a little sickly.  They both agreed that he looked different.  So we began to remind them that when we bought Pete we knew that he would not live forever.  Both boys told Pete they loved him and that they hoped he would feel better soon.  Husband and I looked at each other and then told the boys that Pete was probably not going to get better and that they should expect for him to die soon.

#1 turns to the fish bowl, salutes, and says, "See ya Pete!" He grabs his orange juice and bounces out of the room.  As I am trying to absorb #1's nonchalant attitude I can see #2 out of the corner of my eye.  He is staring at the bowl and trying really hard to keep his lip from quivering.  I get on his level and say, "Buddy, I am so sorry.  It is sad when fish die."  Water works central followed with pleas of love and concern. "I love Pete.  He is the best fish I ever had.  I need him.  Get him medicine! He won't die.  We can help him!"

We began telling him that we will change Pete's water and that we will look online to see what we can do for Pete.  This subdues #2's anxiety and he is exceedingly positive outlook that everything will turn out okay despite our attempts to lay out the probable future of Pistol Pete.

Boys go to play WII and Husband looked online.  There is medicine.  It is a $4.99 beta.  I can tell you right now I am not buying medicine.  Both adults agreed that we were not that committed to Pete's well being.  We don't even mention to #2 that medicine is an option.  #1 pipes up and says that he heard that if you put plants in the fish bowl that it makes the fish healthy and happy. Bingo.  We go with this.  I tell #2 that tomorrow I will go get Pete a plant.  The evening continues on and Pistol Pete manages to stay alive.

Later after we put the boys in bed I look at husband and say, "I have every intention of getting a new fish tomorrow when I get the plant."  Without hesitation he says, "Absolutely!"  End of discussion and the next day we pull off the switch.  The boys are both thrilled at how much Pistol Pete loves his new bowl and #1 new that the plant would do the trick.

So there you have it.  It could have been an opportunity to love #2 through the loss of a pet and I am sure teach him a valuable life lesson but instead we learned our integrity can be bought for $4.99.  I know, pathetic.   

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