Realistic Expectations

We were watching an episode of Bob the Builder (a long time favorite in my book), when some of the characters decided to go snow boarding. Bob starts off thinking that snowboarding was going to be easy, and that he would just stand up and take off on the board. He realizes quickly that it is difficult to snowboard, and at one point he asks the lady giving him a lesson, “Is it supposed to hurt this bad?”

One of my favorite things about Bob the Builder is that they showcase realistic expectations. Sure it’s a cartoon, but messes and mistakes abound, and so does grace. The idea of being able to just stand up and ride off on a snowboard is silly – but as someone who grew up in Colorado, and thought snowboarding would be a breeze when I first tried it, I can attest to the fact that it’s a real challenge. While the pros make it look like they are floating down the slope, the truth is, it takes a great deal of strength, skill, and coordination to actually make it down the hill.

Throughout Bob the Builder episodes, the characters face challenges, sometimes the challenges they face are made worse by thinking something isn’t a challenge, or by actions or mistakes of the character facing the challenge. Nonetheless, Bob and Wendy give the equipment room to make mistakes, and help them recover when a mistake does happen. (Maybe it isn’t totally realistic that all of the equipment is self driving and capable of mistake making, but it’s still such a sweet picture of making a mistake, and being helped through it.)

Funny, I always thought I put this cartoon on so my kids could watch something equally entertaining and educational, seems I might put it on so I can be reminded to shout less and offer more grace, a chance to re-do or fix a mess, a chance to grow from a screw up instead of acting like a screw up is the end of the world (which we all know, most the time when a kid screws up, it’s far from the end of the world).

Thanks, Bob the Builder, for giving us something worth watching, for giving us realistic expectations, for embracing the mess and muck that is life, and for showing us to keep trying.

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