Blogs » Learning in Freedom » Check the Pockets! A Mom's Lament


On our way to my son's soccer practice, he told me that he couldn’t find his iPod. I remembered that he had said something about his missing iPod the day before. I told him that it was probably in the couch cushions. That’s where we usually find his iPod when it is missing.

I didn’t think anything of his concerns until I was doing laundry. As I was loading the dryer, something didn’t sound right. I looked back into the washing machine and saw my son’s iPod, the lime green spiky cover that he purchased with his own money still securely attached.

I had washed my son’s iPod. I didn’t just wash it; it went through soak, one wash, and two rinse cycles. How would I tell him?

His face turns red when he is embarrassed. I learned that it also turns red when he is very upset. There was a moment of shock and silence.

Eventually, his mood changed from despair to hope. Hope from despair isn’t what interests me as much as how I reacted to his optimism. I don’t want him to learn to give up, but for some reason I felt the need to tell him, “I am so sorry, but there is no way it will ever work again.” I felt the need to protect him from hope. Why? He needed hope. It's a great diversion.

We put the iPod in a bag of rice out in the sun for a whole day. Of course it wouldn’t power up, but he had spent a day asking people for advice and waiting - hoping. Facebook friends said to put the iPod on rice for a week. Hope! Why not let him try?

Isn’t it better to arrive at a truth on your own? Isn’t it a good lesson to be allowed to try, even though others think it’s hopeless? Why would I want to keep reminding him that all his efforts are futile? I do. I don't like that about me.

Children should be free to learn for themselves outside of the negativity of jaded adults.

I should have checked the pockets.