I gave one of my sons a task of emptying out a small laundry basket of misc. things that came form upstairs. I don’t enjoy doing all these menial tasks myself and plus, they are training to work and they live here to.
This particular boy has had a lot of problems in the past with being un-dependable on tasks like this, and only doing halfway jobs or even deceiving me that he actually did them, so I have to really be on the ball with him. I was helping him sort a few of the things and then all of a sudden the basket was just gone! I asked him suspiciously, where the basket went. He said it was in the garage! I said, ” I don’t want the basket in the garage,” and I marched out there to double check he did his job all the way thru. He hadn’t. I was upset. Not because the basket wasn’t emptied, but because the basket not being emptied had a different meaning behind it. It meant my son’s character was moldy.
Of course I was frustrated with him and although I did not swear, did not call him names, I have a way of making the boy break into tears easily. I know when he feels like he isn’t pleasing momma, he feels ashamed and his way of showing that is to cry. We spent thirty minuets talking about why I was upset and how he could have done things differently.
I told him that him not doing a simple task all the way thru hurts his trust with me and anyone else around him and I asked him, when are you going to be a man of integrity? Because if you tell me tomorrow, it will never happen. He responded, “today, is when I have to be that man.” I explained to him, that he cannot be given any greater tasks and responsibility, if he cannot be trusted to empty the basket today. He says,” I don’t want to grow up!” I say,”no son, no one is asking you to be 18 today, but your good character has to start growing today or you won’t be the man you need to be when you get to be 18.”
” I say to him, ” I am your guide, and you have been giving to me by God to take care of, to train, to raise. Me and your dad haven’t ever done this before, but son, can I tell you that we are highly determined to be the very best at something we have never done before? I love you. That is why we are having this talk. Because, if I didn’t care about you, I would let you fail. I would let you not finish your job, I wouldn’t care to stop and correct you about this basket not being emptied.”
“Son, did you know when you walked thru that door, that you didn’t finish and that mom would be un-pleased if she found it out?” “Yes, he replied” “Did you know that the Holy Spirit was talking to you and telling you that you should finish the job right?” “You didn’t listen to Him. So, He came and told me to make sure you finished the job. Because he cares about you. The Holy Spirit talks to me about you sometimes. And he helps me guide you.” ” I am glad you heard Him, even though you didn’t pay attention to Him, you hearing Him means your heart is still soft and you still have a conscience working. Son, listen to Him when he speaks to you, because if you ignore Him long enough, He will stop talking to you.”
“Its very important that you learn to handle your poor choices when you make them. You need to recognize that you did wrong, then apologize for you choice, then ask for forgiveness, then make it right.” And I acted out a different scene for him and how things could have turned out differently.
I told him I loved Him. I asked for a hug. (Which, hugs aren’t comfortable for me and I have to practice them regularly) I told him that he can do better next time and that I’m not mad at him anymore.
I’m hoping the basket gets emptied next time without me having to babysit the job, but even if its not next time, my job as a parent is to never give up. And to be on the spot about listening when The Holy Spirit talks to me. And still loving those gremlins even when they screw up, Because, thats what Christ does for all of us even when we get to be old enough to be on our own!