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.
One of the fascinating sequels in the Bible is the book of Jeremiah, followed by the book of Lamentations. The first book is all about Jeremiah’s pleadings, on God’s behalf, for God’s people to come back to Him. The book is full of recollections of God’s many attempts to get their attention and remind them that they had a covenant. He would be their God, provide all for them, and they would be His people, faithful to Him only. But they didn’t listen. To put it delicately, they pretty much decided to flaunt their unfaithfulness in God’s face. So then comes the book of Lamentations. All God’s warnings ignored, the desolation came. Now begins Jeremiah’s laments over how none of this would have happened, if God’s people had just been faithful.
Tucked in the first chapter of Lamentations is an interesting concept in verse nine. God’s people didn’t consider their destiny.
Think about that for a moment. They were so wrapped up in the here and now, instant gratification that they forgot about their ultimate destiny as God’s people. Remember that ultimate destiny? They were never to lord it over others. God simply chose them to be the ones to share His love with all the rest of the world. They lost sight of that destiny and became an exclusive club for snobs instead. God’s original plan was to save every single person on Earth. The people He blessed to share that good news with others – they failed, because they didn’t consider their destiny.
What is your destiny? Are you so caught up in the here and now, hand to mouth, daily grind and all of that – have you lost sight of your destiny? Is your marriage something you’re just surviving today, or does it have a destiny to be great? Can you hardly wait until the kids are of legal age and out of the house, or does your parenting have a destiny?
Life isn’t just about today. God created you for greatness. You have a destiny – don’t lose sight of that. Today’s decisions affect tomorrow. A score of tomorrows becomes your destiny. Have you considered your destiny today?
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!
One of the principles we’ve learned over the years in our experiment with this thing called parenting is to pick our battles. There may be a hundred things you wish your children would do differently, but in the end, there are just a handful of things that you would really invest all of your parenting resources into that you might correct them.
Greta made it easy for us this morning. Her defiance and the fire in her eyes as well as the attitude that seemed to resound with every inch of her, from her hair to her toenails, made it quite clear. This is a hill to die on. With how strong willed she is, this is going to be a serious battle.
Greta didn’t want to admit she was wrong. She struggles to admit when she is wrong. In her defense, the control part of her fun/control personality makes this difficult. Just as some folks have trouble speaking in public or being patient enough to pay attention to endless tiny details, control country personalities (with a touch of perfect) can really struggle with admitting they are wrong.
When we told Greta that we had observed the incident ourselves and saw that she was wrong and needed to admit it, she challenged us. Why should I? At the moment I felt like I was the smallest horse rancher ever facing the largest herd of wild mustangs bent on staying wild. The stubbornness that exuded from her could build an insurmountable wall to rival the Great Wall of China. Oh yes! This was an issue we had to meet head on.
It isn’t easy explaining to a 10 year old lives for the moment girl that conquering her inability to admit wrong now will serve her for the rest of her life. I have a feeling that this issue will return for many more conversations. Things that seemed to be issues yesterday now pale in comparison. But Greta’s personality has set her up to be a great leader. If she can conquer this hurdle – admitting when she is wrong – she will be a beloved leader and not an arbitrary tyrant. The world needs great leaders. Greta is fearless. The world needs fearless leaders like Greta. We are currently accepting any and all prayers on our behalf as we tackle this challenge. God help us. He created Greta this way and He has great plans for her life. He must have much faith in us that we can raise her to be the great leader He had envisioned.
I was exchanging Mother’s Day greetings with several moms via text this morning, when my husband realized his failure. One of the moms, a single parent, has a son younger than our youngest child. Karl wondered, when did he ever have a chance to go to the store and pick out a mother’s day card for his mom?
It will be on his radar next year, the week before mother’s day, Karl will make sure young children of single moms have an opportunity to go shopping for a card for their mom. It’s what the Bible is talking about when it says to care for the fatherless and the widow. Just a way to make it practical.
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.
I’ve received a great honor recently – most favored auntie status by my 2 year old niece. I’m not sure what I did, but Kayleigh has selected me to be her cuddling aunt. She told her mother she wanted to sit in my lap for family time. I was surprised, but nonetheless delighted as all of my children are past this stage.
The entire family, all 15 of us gathered for the holidays, have managed to carve out time each day for family worship. Kayleigh selects me to sit with during this special time. Again, I am delighted.
Then there was the day she gave the universal sign. She had her precious blankie in front of her and slowly backed up closer and closer to me. I knew what this meant, I was supposed to pick her up and set her on my lap for cuddle time, which I did. It reminded me of the times my own children had a special book, toy or blanket, held closely in front of them before they began backing up to be picked up and set on the lap.
All kids seem to be born with this skill. It is truly a phenomenon of the development of children that they universally use this little tactic – for very special time. You can read to kids. Then there is the time they back up into your lap with their favorite book. That is special time.
I think this is something I would like to put on my “when I get to heaven” list. I will pick a favorite thing, back up toward my Father and let Him set me on His lap for very special time.