in education •  last year

It was one of those run of the mill accidents, but it was WHAT HAPPENED NEXT that we could all learn from.

My teenage son was playing football on the forecourt with a couple of friends when he intercepted a fine kick, and returned it powerfully, but unfortunately straight over the fence, where it paused only to crash through the neighbour's green house window.

Seeing what happened I grabbed my son and we both went around the neighbour's house to make our profuse apologies.

He was a very understanding retired policeman, who commented that "accidents happen!!". I volunteered to pay for a new pane of glass, and to buy it. He was happy to accept this, gave me the measurements and asked me to send it around with my son when purchased. (It probably should have been taken out of my sons pocket money, but it was an accident!)

I duly did this, and my son disappeared off to next door with the new pane of glass, not that long after.

He was gone some considerable time, but I wasn't unduly concerned, as I could hear animated conversation and laughter.

In due course he returned looking very pleased with himself. Apparently when he had arrived next door the putty, tools and everything was set out ready to replace the broken window, which my elderly neighbour asked my son to do, whilst he gave him instructions.

No wonder my son was happy. He had learnt a new skill, made a new friend, assuaged any guilt he might have felt from breaking the greenhouse window and he now knew how to react to a young person who has a genuine accident, when he became an adult.

He is now in his forties and has children of his own. I recently witnessed his young daughter accidentally cause a spillage on the floor. "Don't worry he said, it was an accident. Find me the dustpan and brush and we'll clear it up together."!!

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