If you would like to see something misused, abused, and broken as quickly as possible, give it to young boys. They will take care of it.
My mom got the boys a wagon, a cute little green one with plastic wheels. I pull the twins around the neighborhood in it, they collect rocks in it, they love it.
One evening, the wagon was parked at the front of the house, in front of my older boys and two of their friends. They wanted to play with it. Sure, I said, envisioning idyllic, peaceful wagon rides around the cul-de-sac.
I pulled a chair out of the garage, sat down, and then looked up to see the wagon hurtling through the air and over the curbs, its wheels spinning wildly. Two boys were airborne in the wagon, two others behind it running at top speed.
“Boys! BOYS!” I yelled, my voice echoing off the houses, barely heard over raucous laughter.
“Don’t do that! Use the wagon nicely. Pull it from the front, and don’t be shoving it from behind off the curbs!”
“Ok….” they sighed, their shoulders slumping.
Next thing I knew, Adrian was in the wagon at the top of the driveway, serious-faced and looking like an astronaut ready for launch (yes, he was actually wearing his helmet). He clutched the handle tightly and yelled, “Go!”
Stephen and a friend stood behind him, preparing to run Adrian down the driveway and into the street.
“STOP!” I said. “Remember what I JUST SAID? You are going to hurt someone!”
Stephen looked at me with a sour face. “I don’t see what’s dangerous about this, Mom,” he said.
“Those wheels could break or turn suddenly, and then the person inside would fly out,” I said.
He looked skeptical.
I returned to my book while Stephen and his friends rolled the wagon down the street.
Soon, I saw them coming down the sidewalk, Stephen lying in the wagon, his friend pulling him gently along. They both wore somber expressions. When they reached our driveway, Stephen sat up and lifted his arms tragically. Blood dripped from scrapes on both elbows.
“What happened?” I asked.
“We were pulling the handle and flipping each other out of the wagon. I fell out and scraped my elbows. I think it is a little dangerous,” he commented as we fetched band-aids.
Maybe some people have to learn at the school of hard knocks!