Parenting Solo: Michelle's Law PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michelle Greenlee Harris, Columnist   
Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:24

Pop quiz. Is Murphy’s Law good or bad? You know the old adage that says "If anything can go wrong, it will". If you said bad, congrats! You are with the 99% of the population familiar with the saying who doesn’t know the real story. Welcome to my side of the street.

Finding out what actually happened in back in 1949 when Murphy’s Law was born was a game and an attitude changer. Capt. Edward A. Murphy was an Air Force engineer working on an aspect of crash technology. After finding a wiring error made by an apparently mistake prone technician he berated him saying "If there is any way to do it wrong, he will find it". Hmmmm. I know people like that. The project manager kept a written account of all "laws" that was discovered during their experiments. He recorded this one as "Murphy’s Law".

A doctor involved in the successful outcome of those experiments gave a press conference and credited Murphy’s Law for the excellent safety record of the project. He told reporters that believing in that law allowed the team to take measures to avoid it. The saying was even picked up by the press after aerospace manufacturers started using it in their ads.

What a concept, a rule about how calamity could ensue, being a good thing? I can see that though. It could be extremely helpful to look at a situation and consider all of the possibilities – good and bad. Then you could do your best to maximize the likelihood of positive possibilities and minimize the likelihood of negative ones.

Isn’t that what we tell our children? Don’t run with scissors; don’t play with matches; look both ways before you cross the street. As adults we are quite aware of the existence of Murphy’s Law. Sometimes I wonder if we’re too aware of it.

I admit, I am terrified about what can happen to my little girl. Sometimes I think I scare her half to death by "over warning" her about the dangers that could cross her path. Part of the joy of childhood is believing in the miracles and dreams, right?

This new perspective on Murphy’s Law could change my approach. I won’t be nagging, or as I call it "intensely reminding" her to be mindful of the dangers in life. If Murphy’s Law is a motivator to follow the Boy Scout motto to "Be Prepared" then I am more of a heroine for helping her to overcome adversity before it shows up. I like the part about me saving the day.

There is a spiritual lesson in it too. The church elders used to say "The devil is always looking for an open door". Good ole’ Murphy has reminded me to consider all the ways the devil can slip into a situation and then figure out ways to keep him out. That’s what I call Michelle’s Law. Now when I’m nag- um intensely reminding my daughter of the dangers of life I’m actually being proactive. I like it!