I never meant to teach my children gambling. I thought I was teaching my children about the ills of gambling.
Years ago on a family vacation, we swung by Las Vegas to catch some shows. We saw the famous Siegfried and Roy magic show with their amazing white tigers. The second evening we saw Cirque du Soleil acrobats perform aerial magic. My children were enchanted with the over-the-top entertainment. I thought the whole city was over-the-top and not always in a good way.
My husband wanted to try his luck at blackjack. Children were not allowed in the casino, so I made use of the sidewalk slot machines to teach my children a lesson on gambling. At a random sidewalk slot machine, I planned to show my kids that you only lose your money in these machines. I got a bunch of quarters to illustrate my show-and-tell lesson. I put in a few quarters. As no cherry/cherry/cherry ever lined up, I espoused how you just “fed” the gambling owners in Vegas but never received any “fruit” for yourself. I left out the part about the mob influence and focused on how money should be spent wisely…then the unbelievable happened.
After feeding one quarter, the machine went crazy! Quarters were flying out of that machine and falling onto the sidewalk! My son was smiling from ear to ear. He said, “It doesn’t look so bad to me, Mom!” Undaunted, I later took them to the kid gambling place, Circus-Circus Arcade. We bought a few tickets to roll the spinner at a booth where you could “win” a large stuffed toy. When it was my turn, I rolled the spinner and it landed on the largest plush bunny rabbit in the booth! Foiled, AGAIN.
This ended my lessons on gambling in Vegas. I needed a Zen master’s advice. Two hundred years ago a Japanese Zen master named Sono was respected for her wisdom in guiding people to peace and enlightenment. Regardless of a person’s frustrating situation, she taught this simple affirmation: say to yourself every morning, “Thank you for everything, I have no complaints whatsoever.”
Instead of beating up on myself for trying to teach “Thou shalt not,” I did learn a lesson for myself…discipline is much more powerful when you teach a child what TO DO, instead of what NOT TO DO.
I find many life lessons in the boomerang category – they reverberate between childhood and my Baby Boomer adulthood.
Pearls of Peace (PoP) quiz:
18. Did any of your lessons to children or students ever boomerang into you learning the biggest lesson?
19. What stories cause you to beat up on yourself?