*Warning: The Words You Are About To Read Are The Disorganized Ramblings Of An Overprotective Mother*
Sometimes it feels like I’m the only stay-at-home parent who gets dressed in the morning. One day last week, there were 5 grown-ups at the bus stop on Wednesday morning. Only one of us was wearing pants. Only 3 of us were wearing socks and shoes. In December. The rest were wearing pajamas and Birks with bare feet. In December. While telling their kids to pull their hats over their ears.
And the award for “Mom of the Year” goes to …
Meanwhile, an unattended toddler ran around on the icy road as cars slowed to a crawl to avoid hitting him.
My 4 year old stepped off of the curb (which was covered in snow, so that she couldn’t see where the sidewalk actually ended), and I quickly pulled her back. “See the yellow paint?” I asked her, “That’s the edge of the sidewalk — stay on this side of it.” “Yeah, see? Right there?” said a helpful mom, pointing with her bare toes from the other side of the yellow line, while her children casually chatted in the middle of the road … with two other grown-ups!
Oi, how do I teach my kids what’s right (ie. standing on the sidewalk) vs. what’s wrong ( not standing in the middle of the road while cars are trying to get past … or anytime, for that matter), when everybody is doing what’s wrong??
Meanwhile, my oldest son is trying to carry on a conversation with a friend, while said friend stomps on his feet repeatedly. I have taught my sons the fine art of “Ignoring Lame Behaviour” (not that they remember to practice it all the time), and my son merely steps back each time, and continues his story without interruption. I look for the other boy’s mom, but his mom is … hmm, standing in the middle of the icy road … in her pajamas … with bare feet.
So, to summarize what we’ve learned this morning:
1) There’s no point in being an example to your kids and in getting up, dressed, and ready for the day.
2) Annoying your friends by physically antagonizing them is okay. Ignoring them when they say “Please stop.” is okay, cuz hey, you’re just goofin’ around.
3) Whoever said that vehicles have the right of way on a road were just plain wrong. Children should have the freedom to run around and play in the road freely. If cars can’t stop on the inch-thick ice in time to avoid hitting a child, the town is to blame. Or the driver. But definitely not the child. Or the parent.
But as the bus skids to a stop while the children mob it, I realize that really, this is a great life lesson. Our parents were wrong — everybody else IS doing it. Skipping school, smoking up, drinking to excess, having sex before marriage (WHAT?? You didn’t have sex before you married him?!), cheating on their taxes, cheating on their exams, cheating on their spouses, having abortions, getting divorced, lying to their bosses … and the list goes on.
Right and wrong is no longer universal, not by any stretch of the imagination. The only absolutes are certainly not cultural or determined by society. Just the other day, my son said, “I’m not going to marry anyone. But knowing you, Mom, you’ll want to marry ME!” I said “No, that’s illegal”, but then realized, it probably won’t be for long. Who are we to stand in the way of two people who want to be together?
But this is how I’m teaching my kids to be set apart, different from the rest of the world. If everyone stomps on our feet, we don’t reciprocate. If everyone is standing in the middle of the road, we don’t go stand with them. If everyone is going out trick-or-treating, and we don’t feel that doing that would honour God, we don’t go out trick-or-treating. And if someone is throwing snowballs at us when we are clearly not allowed to be throwing snowballs … we use those snowballs to build a fort.
Because what’s right and what’s wrong may not be universally accepted, but it is most definitely absolute. And the Absolute Lawmaker is the one that we’re accountable to, no matter what everyone else is doing. Sore toes and snowball forts are little things now, but very, very soon, it’ll be the bigger things. The party everyone is going to, the cute bathing suit/dishrag that everyone is buying, the words that everyone is using, the movies that everyone is watching.
We’re here for a HUGE purpose, to reflect the light of God’s Love. Why would we want to mess it up with what everyone else is doing?