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Did he learn to worry?

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. ~Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes I wonder if caring and sincerity are learned traits or are they taught? Or is it a little bit of both? I always wondered if being a worrier, not a warrior is an innate part of a person or is it again taught?

Kyle Piper and Scooby walking in the woods
Kyle with Scooby walking in the woods. 8/2011

Kyle is truly a sweet kid. I’m not just saying that because he’s my nephew. I have watched him interact with other children, and parents have proudly come up to me saying what a sweet and polite child he was. I know I’ve said it before, but he really does have a big heart and he cares.  However, he worries about things sometimes WAY too much. He is just like my sister and mom, they worry about things that aren’t in their control. Now my dad and I, that’s a different story. We are not constant worriers. Not to say we’re heartless, but we realize that sometimes things are out of our control and we wish the best, but that’s life. You see, I know God has his own plans. Sure you can petition your feelings, but you don’t know the bigger picture that God has in store. Sure I may pray for someone privately and I hope for the best, but in the end it’s God’s decision. I lose sleep over very few things and I don’t believe in wasting precious energy on worrying, especially when I can use that energy toward a better cause.  Also, I think worrying is negative energy and it’s not healthy to be engulfed by it.   Our minds are a powerful tool and can affect us physically, spiritually, and mentally. Plus, more than not, worriers seem to lose sight of the situation and live it as though it’s their problem, taking it on personally. Not good!  So on that note, why did I go into an entire dissertation on worrying?

Lately, Kyle and I have been going to his swimming lessons on Wednesdays, which his breast stroke is coming a long way and he is starting to learn the butterfly stroke. Ok, I digress. After we ate dinner I had him help me with my lawn. I wanted to cut the grass before I had another Amazon jungle on my hands. He’s great! He pulls the weeds, picks up fallen branches, helps me bag my lawn clippings and drag the bags to the street. His help is really appreciated although, I must admit, I can’t wait till he can do the lawn on his own.

Kyle Piper swimming at the YMCA
Kyle diving at the YMCA- 2010

The last time we worked in the yard, Kyle found two holes in the ground- full of bees! What was amazing was, at that point, I had already mowed over the holes not knowing. It’s a wonder I didn’t get completely mauled by the bees. We marked the holes and I waited till nightfall and dumped oil down the hole. Don’t judge me! I didn’t know what to do with them and I wanted to take care of the situation right away. I thought the oil would coat the hole and either kill them or keep them out. Well guess again, the holes were bigger and were occupied by a LOT of bees. Yikes!

Here’s the kicker: I’m not totally sure if I’m allergic to bees or not. I know I was stung as a kid and recently I was stung by a yellow jacket in the leg, but I was told that my pap developed an allergy to bees later in life. More recently, I am now allergic to poison ivy, which I wasn’t before.

Well, Kyle came up to me and said, “No Aunt Heather, you can’t cut there!” and he grabbed my arm just as I was about to fire up the lawn mower. I said, “We have to get this done.” He said, “No, you don’t know if your allergic.” You see when we originally discovered the bees, first thing Kyle asked me if I was allergic. I told him I wasn’t sure and said, “Well if I swell up and stop breathing, you’ll know you have to drive me to the hospital,” half joking. If I know Kyle, he got two things out of that statement. One: I could be allergic and he didn’t want anything to happen to me. Two: He would have to drive me to the hospital and he’s not allowed to drive, nor does he know how. So Kyle’s worrying begins.

Narrow was not happy about this situation. I told him that I would mow around the holes. I told him to go and pull weeds, I thought that would keep him busy and keep him away from the bees. Well, as I made my trips around the backyard, I was looking for Kyle. I didn’t see him, I thought he went into the house.  That is, until I felt someone behind me. I turned my head and jumped. There he was, following behind me as I mowed. He scared the crap out of me! He was watching me to make sure I didn’t come close to the bees. Then, when I was about two feet away, Kyle grabbed my arm and said, “No Aunt Heather it’s dangerous!” He said, “You’re getting close, you better stop!”

Kyle Piper dressed as a bee
Kyle was a bee for Halloween (courtesy of Aunt Nikki) 2003

Ah, my little man! I finished mowing around the holes without going over them and then we finished the front yard. My logic was,  if I managed to get stung, at least my yard was done. I told Kyle to get my gas tank and matches. He brought them to me with such excitement, he said, “We’re going to blow them up!” I laughed and proceeded to pour gas down each hole. I was going to light a match and realized that Kyle was practically on top of me, holding the gas tank. I had him put the gas tank back in the garage. We lit up the holes and they burned. First the gas burned off, then the old oil. It was more like an in-ground oil lamp, kinda pretty actually. Kyle said, “Should I go get a class of water Aunt Heather, in case we need it?” I said to go ahead and get a bucket of water, which we didn’t need but it was a logical suggestion.

After our bee excursion, we had to go to the store to pick up a couple of pies for Kyle’s half brother, it was his eighteenth birthday. In the car, Kyle was telling me that he had to go to the doctors this week and get a shot in the arm for 5th grade. He said he really doesn’t like needles and I told him most people don’t. He admitted that when he sat in the waiting room he started to cry. I said, “Why?” and he said, “Cause I didn’t want to get a shot.” He said, “I think it’s because I was thinking of it for the last three days.” Can you believe that? He got himself all worked up for days before.

As I took Kyle home, he proceeded to tell me he how the second bee hole came into existence. He said, “The queen bee led the other bees out of the hive and started to make another hole.” His theory was that the hives connected underground to a much larger hive. He said, “Ya Aunt Heather, they had to build a second shaft in case of a cave in.” I couldn’t help but smiling. You see, that weekend we watched the movie National Treasure. Toward the end of the movie they commented on making a second way out in case of a cave in. O my Narrow, he’s always thinking.

As I was on my way home, I remembered a few things Kyle said to me. About a month ago, Mineral Virginia was hit by a 6.8ish category earthquake, which I felt in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania. Kyle said he felt it too. He said, “When I heard we had an earthquake in Virginia, I was worried, you know Aunt Heather, cause it was Virginia.” That’s where my sister lives, just outside Washington D.C. It doesn’t surprise me that he was probably concerned for my sister until I picked him up that week. I said, “Why didn’t you call your Aunt Nikki?” and he said, “Cause I was at Daycare and I didn’t have a phone.” I told him if he ever wanted to talk to us, just let the ladies know to give me a call.

Another situation that came to mind was hurricane Irene that ripped up through the Carolina’s and New York City a short time later. Kyle called my sister and said, “Ok Aunt Nikki this is what you need to do, you need to pack up your stuff in the car and start driving inland.” He wanted to make sure she was safe.

Yep, that’s my little man. He has a heart of gold and he really truly cares. Are all children this sympathetic? Am I being biased?

Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningObservation & ImaginationPatience


  1. Markelle Sargent Harden Markelle Sargent Harden

    I think most are not born this way; most have to be taught to care. Case in point: We recently put our 15+ cat to sleep, the one that Eric had before we even started dating. My kids response? “At least she won’t puke on my stuff anymore”. I can’t picture that same response coming out of Narrow’s mouth…and if you take the nurture part into the equation; well Liv is being raised by the biggest sap on the planet, so you figure that one out. A boy with a big heart, there is nothing better. I know God has plans for him and that heart!

    • O Markelle, I’m sorry to hear about your cat!!

      I bet your daughter is just a realist and there’s nothing wrong with that! Wow, Kyle has a big heart and I’m a realist, opposite to you and Liv. I love it! I guess God makes us all unique and has big plans for us all.

  2. What was learned was the quality of having a Heart of Gold. My 8-year-old may fight with my 4-year-old but when it comes to sympathy and concern for his little brother, his heart kicks in every time because he sees it from us with the two of them. We are called role models because we model the roles will eventually play. You can predict now how Kyle will look as a father, a spouse and a friend. How cool is that?

    • Well said! You must be a great role model to take notice to such behavior. Children are truly amazing, between their insight, their logic, and of course their hearts, they are powerful forces in our lives. I’m sure you see that daily with your kiddies. Now if I can only get Kyle to stop paying attention to my bad habits.

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