I know I often come across as a grumbling curmudgeon with little sentimentality — the kind of person who misdirects the blind and refuses to clap for Tinkerbell. But I do have a softer side, and one thing that is guaranteed to bring it out is the sight of a little kid offering to help fix something that is far beyond their abilities. I call them Little Troubleshooters.
Somehow, the sight of a young child running up with a set of plastic tools or a Fisher Price medical kit offering to help “fix it” makes me feel a bit mushy.
On occasion, of course, such offers of help can go amusingly awry, such as the old gag about a Boy Scout who arrived half an hour late to his meeting.
“What held you up?” asked the den mother.
“I was helping an old lady across the street,” he answered.
“And that took half an hour?”
“Well, she really, really didn’t want to cross.”
Less apocryphal is the story told by “lori,” a commentor on Lysa TerKeurst’s site on Christian living for women. When lori’s son Alec was three he became concerned that his baby sister, who was just learning to walk, kept hurting herself on the corners of the dining room table. Taking an unobserved moment after his family had trimmed some branches off the Christmas tree, he borrowed the pruning shears and used them to round-off the corners of the table. “I fixed it, mommy,” he proudly announced.
Generally, however, Little Troubleshooters aren’t so much destructive as they are adorably ineffective.
“My child Mike, was playing doctor with his friend Jim,” reported Mia Sidener in a July 17, 2013 Facebook post. “‘I’m so sick’ said my son, ‘Can you please take a look at me.’ ‘Sure’ said Jim taking out his toy stethoscope. After a few seconds of listening closely to his heart, he said sadly, ‘Oh Mike, you have a broken arm!'”
Over at Mess for Less, Vicky Perreault gives her readers advice on creating imaginative play resources at cut-rate cost. Last March she set up a veterinarian office for her kids where they could examine and treat their stuffed animals.
My own kids are now all grown up so I no longer have Little Troubleshooters of my own to pop up with their adorable but completely ineffective offers of help. But I still get that feeling every time I see one of these: