I thought I would share with you my favorite story about Wesley, which is also the reason that I’m calling him Wesley in this blog. When he was 7, and Marvin was 10, they were playing together in the basement. They had this really big box that they liked to play pretend with. Wesley was inside of it, with his arms sticking out, and Marvin – who really struggles with impulse control – thought it would be funny to tip the box over. Wesley landed, arm first, on our metal laundry rack. His left arm looked like it had 2 elbows. Needless to say, we went to the ER. They set his arm and put it in a sling while they waited for the swelling to come and go before putting a cast on it.
The next day, we kept Wesley home from school and Greg thought it would be fun to watch ‘The Princess Bride’ with him. He loved it!!! The day after that, Wesley came home from school with little cuts all over his right hand. We asked him what happened, and he told us that he and his buddy had been sword fighting with scissors. We’ve had a lot of fun with ‘he’s not left-handed’ jokes.
We didn’t punish Marvin, but we talked with him quite a bit about what happened. And we explained that he was responsible, and because of that, he had to help Wesley. We pointed out that Wesley was going to be unable to do some of his chores so Marvin would have to do them for him, and Wesley was going to need help tying his shoes or getting his backpack to school, so Marvin was going to need to help.
Marvin truly loves his brother, and being responsible for breaking his arm left him with a lot of really big emotions that he had a lot of trouble processing. For several weeks, he kept ping-ponging between guilt, jealousy, and anger. He spent all of his allowance money on an ‘I’m sorry’ toy to give to Wesley, and the same day he threw Wesley’s shoes towards him and said, ‘Good luck tying your shoes!’ It was a long several weeks.
Marvin felt really guilty. Which he should have, because he did do something wrong. And Greg and I were trying to use that to teach him. But his guilt would sometimes overwhelm him and he’d lay on his bed sobbing. We were also trying to teach him about God’s love and forgiveness. And to teach him that being forgiven does not erase consequences. It was challenging, but we all got through it. Good friends of the family would share their broken bone stories with Marvin and that seemed to help. One of them was even a big brother breaking little brother’s arm story and he really clung to that one. And it also helped that Wesley has always been very good natured, and loves his brother deeply, so forgave him readily. We eventually got through it, and now we look back and laugh at Wesley sword-fighting with scissors right after breaking his arm.