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.
There are days as a parent when you just need to hand it off to your spouse. You give them that look that says, you take over or this child will end up grounded for three years. Greta does more than any of the other children to cause us to keep passing the baton back and forth. But what if there is no one to pass the baton to?
I know some recent single parents with young children. They have a lot going on. Suddenly they are responsible for everything to a much greater magnitude than ever before. They also desperately need that “Tag, you’re it” moment to pass the baton to someone else for a little while.
Single parents work hard and sacrifice a lot. If you know a single parent, especially of younger children, why don’t you find out if you can provide one of those moments where they can pass the baton to you for a few minutes? Offer to take their kids to the park for an hour. Find out their favorite treat and take them to get it. Find out what their parent is really struggling with right now, and find a way to reinforce and support the parent to those children during your outing.
By the way, it doesn’t matter why they are a single parent. Death, divorce, never married; it just doesn’t matter. Those kids till need mentoring and that parent still needs a moment to tag someone else to take over for a while.
Last night I was the only parent in the house as Karl was out of town for a meeting. This is a big job. Speaking of our family and our personalities to some colleagues at a conference once caused them to look at us with pity and admiration. Through their laughter they exclaimed, “You must have a high energy household.” That would be an understatement. This household is hard enough for two parents to run. So I was in running in safe mode last night. Just the basic operations to get through to bed time, no extras.
Then Greta asked me to play a game of Whoonu with her. I didn’t feel like getting on the floor and playing a game. I had some other projects to work on as my day before the kids got home didn’t go as planned. But somehow a game of Whoonu slipped through my safe mode. Sure, I’ll play a game with you.
You are the best mom in the world.
The rest of the evening went better because of the togetherness and fun we had as a family playing that game. Whoonu? Should have known. The family that bonds together works together. Take some quality time with your family tonight and see what happens. You might be saying Whoonu too!
Vacation Bible School is always so much work, but full of so much fun and blessings! We’ve been planning for this week’s VBS for months. My job is helping with the motions to the songs and a couple of weeks ago, someone asked me how it was going. My response? Greta is my superstar and she’s doing great. The same person asked the lady in charge of the up front program the same question and her response was: Sharon and Greta are my superstars.
Last night after our first opening session of VBS, one of the volunteers remarked that Greta was doing great in leading the motions to the songs, it is her gift. The truth is, Greta loves motions to songs so much that if a song doesn’t have motions, she’ll make up her own!
Our little part of VBS is going great because we are recognizing something: Spiritual Gifts. What God has gifted someone with, let them do that! Everyone is blessed when people use their gifts for God’s honor and glory. Yes, even a little girl can use her talents, given by God, to help others.
There was an explosion at the breakfast table this morning. The kids had pushed me too far and I used my best get their attention voice. It must have been growing up near an Air Force Base and hanging out at times at a National Guard Military Department that gave me the edge with getting their attention. I even got Karl’s attention.
One word, one order from their mommy turned drill sergeant and instantly the children were to their seats at the table and very quiet. Karl and I discussed what was happening and we decided we hadn’t been enforcing the rule. No more! The Cold Cereal Rule will now be enforced.
You see, our kitchen is quite small. There is not enough room for the kids to pack their lunches and for me to make them a good breakfast to help them have a good day at school. So the rule is that they get their lunches done and out of the way in time for me to make a good breakfast for them. They’ve been pushing it and it makes it very difficult for me to make breakfast. So the threat of be on time or we will have cold cereal hasn’t been enforced. No more. Karl and I have decided a rule isn’t any good if it isn’t enforced. So the kids may end up having cold cereal every school day for a while, until they can figure out we mean business.
The hardest part about parenting, is disciplining yourself! I don’t want cold cereal every day. That’s the truth. But I will have to train myself and sacrifice and eat cold cereal in order to teach the children a lesson. I hope they learn it fast. I want to go back to pancakes and breakfast burritos and all kinds of good stuff.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Truly it is. Do some research and you’ll find some amazing things. First of all, breakfast is a free meal. Huh? If you are eating a decently nutritious breakfast – tank up! Healthy calories consumed at the morning meal are normally burned off during the course of the day. Just watch yourself for lunch and supper. Logically, if you eat 800 calories at 6:30 in the evening, most likely you won’t have time to burn off enough of those calories to justify what you ate. It’s really a no brainer.
The meal is pretty important at our house and I’m proud to say my kids get a home prepared breakfast before they go to school. I hear the stories of other kids that come to school hungry and they feel so sorry for those kids. I want to get in the faces of their parents and ask them if they are crazy! It is sad when the school has to send notes home to please make sure your kids get a good breakfast so they can do their best on the standardized testing coming up.
But a home prepared meal comes at a price. Mom had to get up earlier and sometimes dad too. The children need to have their lunches finished and out of the way so mom can get going on making that most important meal of the day. This morning, all three of my kids overslept, but I didn’t. Eventually I grabbed the air horn we use as a last resort to remind them that yes, it is another day and school cannot be avoided. I informed my husband that the children would be in the way and I would have to make a simpler breakfast, not the mouth watering breakfast burritos he had been hoping for.
Karl doesn’t move fast unless he has to. It is not in his nature. He is the peaceful, easy going, relational person that spend a lot of time thinking through how decisions and reactions will affect various relationships. He sees the big picture and takes time along the way to make sure all will be well at the end of the day. This takes time. But breakfast burritos are his favorite. He jumped out of bed and began rallying the troops. Get your lunches made and out of mommy’s way if you want breakfast burritos!
Needless to say, we had breakfast burritos this morning. Did it require extra effort and inconvenience since we were already behind schedule a bit? Of course! But the whole family felt it was worth the effort. Now my challenge is how to bottle that intentionality and purpose and speed for other things in life. How can I show my children that there are many things in life worth pulling out all the stops for – not just breakfast burritos? I am determined to find an answer.