Kindergarden Karma

Wednesday’s may be “hump day” for Joe Lunchbox, porn stars and drive time radio DJs, but around our house it is known as “Daddy Owen Day”. The tradition started six weeks after the birth of our son, Owen when my wife went back to work. The combination of a desire to embrace a ‘hands on’ parenting experience along with a lack of sufficient funds to pay for daycare thrust me onto the frontlines of the battle to shape the youth of tomorrow. We would juggle the little man around our work schedules the other days of the week, but Wednesday was always my day to go solo. Open to close as it were.

Anyway, last Wednesday we were hanging out at the Columbus Zoo on a picture perfect fall afternoon when an interesting subject arose. Snacking on PB & Js, just a smell’s distance from the penguins, a ladybug landed on Owen’s shirt.

 He said, “Dad! A ladybug! This is good luck!”  I replied, “yup, it sure is” 

“What if I put it in a spider web for a spider to eat? Would that be bad luck?”

“Yeah, that would probably be bad karma” 

“What’s bad karma?”

“Well, if you do something bad, bad things will happen to you, if you do good things, one day something good will happen to you.”

Owen clarified: “So if I hit you in the arm, something bad will happen to me?”

“That’s the idea.”

Owen then reared back punched me in the arm. And said, “Let’s go smell the Komodo dragon’s breathe.”

The very next day we are driving somewhere listening to Judas Priest on Boneyard when he says from the back seat, “Dad, I hit you in the arm yesterday and nothing bad happened. Maybe Karma doesn’t exist”

Thinking on my feet, or seat in this case (snicker, snicker) I cleverly respond, “Sometimes you do a bunch of little bad things and eventually they add up and some big bad thing happens to you”

“Oh……” he ponders for a moment “so, I could punch you in the arm 10 days in a row, but, then one day,… someone will come up to me on the playground and punch me in the nuts”

Having never heard my six year old son use that particular expression, I blinked for a long second and said, “Excuse me?”   

He said, “Come on dad, you know what I mean” 

He had me there. I did know. 

 “Two things Owen. First, yes, that pretty much explains karma and second, please don’t use that expression around teachers, or grown-ups that don’t come over to our house to watch football with me"

“OK Dad. Can we stop for a milkshake at Old McDonald's?”



Colin Gawel is a Dad who plays music, sells coffee and writes at Pencilstorm. He will be spending Father's Day watching Owen play little league baseball trying not to have a nervous breakdown because it's just little league baseball after all. You can learn more about him and other Pencilstorm contributors here.