Kids, right now you’re at an age where it doesn’t really matter what you do, or say, you can just about get away with murder and be forgiven.
By the way, I’d be really thrilled if you didn’t murder anyone… or the pets.
But the bad news is, the time is fast approaching when people, even those who love you very much, are going to get pretty annoyed at something you do, or say, that you didn’t really mean.
You haven’t met them yet, but living inside of you is someone I like to call, The Dingbat.
It’s the much dumber version of you which struggles to remember how to tie shoelaces, forgets passwords, birthdays, anniversaries, where you put things down, hasn’t got a clue how to pay bills and absolutely refuses to supply you with peoples names when you need it most.
The Dingbat takes control from time to time, especially if you’re tired, rushed, sick, pre-occupied, stressed or just not feeling yourself. The Dingbat means well, but frankly, everything they do, touch or say is going to be wrong, hurtful, or just plain stupid.
The Dingbat has a very important role though, it’s there to teach you guilt, shame, embarrassment, remorse and regret. And, trust me, it’s the only thing it does with style and flair.
I could give you hundreds of examples where Grandads’ Dingbat really shone, almost at an Olympic level; and that was just this week! But I don’t want to talk or think about them right now, let alone write them down.
Even better, occasionally The Dingbat will run selected highlights of your stuff ups, in graphic colour and in slow motion, just to highlight the exact micro-second things turned to play-dough.
As you’re cringing in horror you may even hear it sniggering in the background.
Now, you could react to this by walking around moaning, calling yourself all sorts of bad things, kicking something, being unkind to people you like very much or, wishing you had never been born. You may even want to hide in some dark cupboard away from the light and prying eyes. Sometimes adults will leave town, or the country, to get as far away from the mess they’ve made.
Sadly, no matter where you go, The Dingbat will be surfing right along with you.
Look, the great news is, it’s ok. Really, it is. We all make mistakes. Lots of them. And anyone saying otherwise is a liar.
The trick is, not to panic, over-react or make things worse. Like your Grandad tends to do…
Life, is all about muddling through in the best way you can. And when you make a mistake, admit it, say you’re sorry, make amends or do whatever you think is the best thing to do under the circumstances (note: occasionally your Dingbat will often use this occasion to go to the next level too).
If it’s any consolation, people who have trodden a very well worn path before you will know what has really happened when things go mango-shaped in your life and they’ll shake their heads, smile, give you a hug and call you a Little Dingbat.
Don’t take it personally.