Everyone wears a seat belt. That was the rule laid out by mom and dad. When my sister and I were driving the family car, everyone riding with us had to wear their seat belt. Failure to follow this rule would result in loss of driving privileges. Pretty simple and straightforward.
A lot of life and living took place between my young driving days and my oldest son turning 16 years old. Let’s get Michael his driver’s license! Rite of passage just like I went through at that age. But it wasn’t that easy in the great state of Texas for a 16 year old to get a driver’s license. I had visions of Michael driving himself and his two younger siblings to school each day. That would take a load off of Karl and I. We were looking forward to it. But someone told us that wouldn’t work and we looked into the rules about driving in Texas. Things had changed a lot since I was sweet 16 and driving the family car!
Somewhere between my parents and their rules and my son being of age for a driver’s license; there were a whole lot of parents that began scrapping their parental rights and duties. Instead of being their child’s parent, they gave in to the popular notion of the time (that is still floating around out there) that their primary objective was to be their child’s best friend. Really? So if your parent is your best friend, who do you go to when you need a parent? Look no further, big brother is standing by.
This is how it works. Parents put restrictions on their offspring when new privileges are granted. As the young person proves trustworthy, the restrictions are gradually lifted. Parents have been parents. Young people have learned trust and accountability and the roads are safer. When parents quit parenting, the government steps in. It may be local, state or even federal, but when parents stop parenting someone has to be come the parent. So now the state of Texas is the parent for all young drivers. There is no way to determine if they have been trustworthy or not, so specific ages are set down. Regardless of how wonderful your little darling is, the law has specific restrictions and limitations until they reach a certain age. It’s what happens when you govern the masses.
It was so much easier and more gratifying when parents held those duties and responsibilities. It was intimate, something you achieved under the watchful eyes, cheering and support of those closest to you. Now it’s a number in line and the same rule applies to all universally – no matter how safe of a driver you are.
Will parents ever take back their rights and duties? I’m hoping so.
My husband has accepted the accountability of the family in helping him to reach his weight loss goals. The end of 2011 and most of 2012 was quite crazy for us. Greta being hospitalized for ADEM, my Crohn’s Diagnosis and subsequent torture via modern medicine were bad enough. Add to that Karl’s desire to understand and be sympathetic regarding all of the surgeries I’ve had, so he decided to have his appendix removed. Yes, 2013 is the year to put the medical nightmares behind us and get our health back!
Karl’s goal is simple. Lose 43 pounds by his 43rd birthday. 43 by 43 is his slogan. Matthew, our middle child, has risen to the challenge of being his father’s diet drill sergeant. He takes his job seriously. He asked Matthew how many of the Danish butter cookies he could have. Matthew’s response – NONE! Karl’s reply – None???!!!! Matthew then proceeded to examine the tin of cookies again and give in. “You can have those crumbs.”
We all busted up laughing, and Karl ate no cookies and no crumbs. Karl also got to notate the weight loss from yesterday on his chart this morning. Way to go Matthew! Do you want to do something? Are you serious about it? Go for it like you mean it. Don’t even take the crumbs!
I am all for accountability! It really works. My husband is back on his weight loss goals and we have the chart out again. He loves to hear the excitement of the kids each day when he lowers the number on the board. Hooray for daddy! The encouragement keeps him going.
As a woman, I can tell you right now that I have no intention of putting my weight on the chart each day. Karl has invited me to join him in his motivation tool, but I know my kids. They tell everything! What could I do?
Finally God revealed the perfect idea to me. Getting Down with Me Money!
I made a chart for the days of the week and a simple motivation tool. Each day that I put a down arrow on the chart (meaning my weight went down, however great or small the amount), that equals one Me Dollar – money I can spend on myself. I have the accountability of the public chart and the encouragement of the kids, but not the constant fear that one of them will reveal my weight at school to their friends. I also have a great motivator tool. You see, I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. You know; there are bills to pay, donations to give and always something more important than splurging on a little thing for yourself. My family will encourage me to use those Me Dollars and to keep getting down arrows on my chart.
I put my first down arrow on the chart today. Here is to many more down arrows and safe accountability.