Lesson of Anticipation and Procrastination

One of the ‘highlights’ of living in the shrinking HDB flats/apartments in the forever warm Singapore is that if your neighbor – who is not even your immediate neighbor – yells, you are most likely be able to hear whatever the neighbor has to say. We don’t keep the main door closed when we are home and not sleeping, because Singapore is warm and humid. So, when someone raises his voice enough, the neighbors can hear him, possibly loud and clear.

So, observation is made based on a family dispute.

A few weeks ago, the son bought a box of feathers for the father for one of his projects. The father left the box on the chair, instead of storing it away. The mother was cleaning the house and disposed the box as she assumed it was empty due to the light weight. On realizing the box was missing and that the mother had thrown the box of feathers away, the father reprimanded the mother briefly.

The son bought another box of feathers again. This time around, the son brought to the father, opened the box to expose the contents, and reminded the father to store it away before the mother threw it out again. Once again, the father left the box on the chair where he left the first box. Based on the first incident, you would think he would at least alert the mother about it, unfortunately for some people, procrastination is in the blood. Again, the mother assumed the box was empty and disposed it.

On noticing the box was missing, the father asked the mother, and when the mother told him that she had thrown it out, the father was livid! He yelled at the spouse with harsh remarks, as though making sure that she felt the gravity of the mistake, at least it was serious to him.

The son did not intervene; nor the son pained for the lost of money. He understood it was not about the money. The father spent more money on lottery tickets, more than what was worth of the value of the boxes of feathers. The son’s wife joined him in the room and they looked at each other and said, ‘we will never do that to each other’.

[ Lesson of Anticipation ]

The son foresaw the high possibility of a repeated cycle. He tried everything he could to prevent it. Anticipation is useful and important. Due to his efforts, came the materialization of the mini-drama at home. It is because of his reminders, the father might be remorseful about his procrastination which cost the son the lost of small fortune. It might be a good start for the father to stop procrastinating.

[ Lesson of Procrastination ]

For the father: He fails to learn from the first lesson, thus the second time around, it leaves him angrier. He is probably angry with himself for procrastinating; or/and he is mad at the wife for repeating the same mistake.

For the mother: She fails to learn from all the similar lessons over the years of throwing out things before checking the contents. Much hassle were caused, and unnecessary expenditure made in placing the thrown items.

For the son and his wife: Do you think a lesson is just purely designed for a single person? There is no coincidence, everything is carefully designed to serve multiple purposes. If the son and his wife are smart enough, they will learn this lesson that, a play has been acted out today for their benefit too. If they do not recognize the issues that his parent have, the same problems will befall in their marriage.

Lesson must be learnt. The family had always let the similar incidents pass without a proper resolution. We always think the right thing to do is to let things go without realizing the repercussion of the repeated patterns. We think we are helping to maintain harmony or even avoid a dispute; we think we are helping someone, but more than often, we are really helping someone FROM learning his/her lesson, and when the next lesson hits, it may cost the person an arm.

They say third time is a charm. Let’s hope this applies to this family. Maybe the feathers will not be thrown away again; I wouldn’t say it’s wasted, nothing’s wasted, the feathers that were thrown have served their higher purpose. Who knows!

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