Amy Rees Anderson

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid.”

Awww yes…we have entered the fabulous month of December and the fabulous season of Christmas (and Hanukkah, Ramadan , Kwanza, and all the other fabulous December holidays being celebrated). And as should be done every December, it’s time to whip out that classic movie from 1983, “A Christmas Story” to watch little Ralphie ask Santa Claus for the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, only to have Santa reply with the very same answer his mother already had, “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid.”

The first time I saw that movie in my childhood I remember how upset I was that Ralphie’s Mom and Santa would both stomp on Ralphie’s dream that way…right up until the scene where Ralphie gets shot in the eye with his Red Ryder BB Gun and nearly shoots his eye out! In fact, if it wasn’t for the pair of eyeglasses he was wearing his eye would have been a goner.  All I could think when I watched the scene of him nearly shooting his eye out was, “Dude, you should have listened to your Mom and you should have listened to Santa!”

You see Ralphie’s Mom and Santa both loved Ralphie and wanted him to stay safe. As older adults they both had the wisdom and experience to know that if given that Red Rider BB Gun Ralphie was going to shoot his eye out. They knew the end from the beginning because of their life experience. But Ralphie didn’t want to hear that because he wanted what he wanted and he wasn’t going to let it go.

How many times in life do we insist on getting what we want instead of listening to the wisdom of people who love us that have the life experience to see the end from the beginning?   Let’s face it…we’ve likely all been Ralphie at one time or another in our lives – we’ve ignored the wisdom of parents, or grandparents, or business advisers, or even God himself, and we have insisted on having our proverbial Red Ryder BB Gun because we wanted it so badly. We ignored the warnings and advice and wisdom others shared with us, and we did it our own way…only to shoot the gun and have the BB ricochet back exactly like we’d been warned that it would, hitting us smack in the eye. Some of us may have been lucky enough to be wearing a pair of eyeglasses which helped keep the consequence from being a total loss of our sight, while others weren’t so lucky and lost their eye.  That’s the hardest part about poor choices – you can choose what you want and what you will do but you can’t choose the consequences that will go along with it.

Life would be so much better and easier if we would just listen to those who have the experience and wisdom to guide us, who love us and have only our best interests at heart.  Perhaps the next time one of us is tempted to ignore the warnings of those who care most and do it our own way, we could stop ourselves and remember Ralphie being told, “You’ll shoot your eye out, Kid!”  and realize it’s not worth it…

Have a great Monday everyone!  And make time to watch the movie A Christmas Story this week. It’s the perfect way to start your holiday with a little laughter and cheer.

~Amy Rees Anderson

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