Friday, September 6, 2013

Parenting From Proverbs

Most years, our neighbors pick a Saturday and have a neighborhood-wide garage sale.  This year, however, just a few of us had the time and stuff to have a sale, so we met at my house and had one, big sale.  My children wanted to have a lemonade/baked goods stand at the end of the driveway during our sale to earn money for an upcoming vacation.  I am a bit grossed out by children pouring beverages (I have observed too many hands digging in the dirt and fingers in noses), so I agreed to bake some cookies, Rice Krispies treats and mini loaves of bread for my kids to sell, along with some bottled water. 

My middle son and I tend to disagree on most things.  I have prayed about this, yet nothing changes.  I try diligently not to argue with this twelve-year-old blessing from Jesus and have accepted that he and I have different perspectives.  My prayer now is for his future wife, my future daughter-in-law.  I pray that she is living a life that is preparing her for his strong personality.  Anyway, he was not happy that there would be no lemonade at this lemonade stand.  I had to pick up a few things at Meijer and he asked to ride along.  I was suspicious, as he is not fond of shopping.  When we arrived, he asked if he could use his own money to buy Country Time Lemonade and cups to sell lemonade the following day.  I was at the point of my day where I didn't really care whose boogers ended up in whose cup of lemonade, so I agreed.

The lemonade mix was on sale for $2 and the cups were $1.46.  He waited in the checkout lane behind me and when I was finished with my purchase, the cashier rang up his two items.  I was standing nearby, but close enough to hear her tell Brodie his total was $1.55.  He handed her the money and met me where I was standing.  I looked at him and asked him how his transaction went.  He said that the things he bought must have been on sale because it didn't cost as much as he thought it would. 

I was tired and cranky after my day of getting merchandise in order for a yard sale, taking care of three kids and our house, and baking and baking and baking.  I just wanted to go home, make dinner, bathe my daughter, get our bedtime business finished and go to sleep!  As exhausted as I was, I couldn't ignore this teaching moment that the Lord had placed in front of me.  I could think of a hundred places in Scripture that told me I had to teach my son something despite my mentally and emotionally drained state.

I told Brodie that something seemed wrong and we needed to look at his receipt to be sure that the cashier charged him for both of the items he bought.  Sure enough, only the cups were listed on his receipt.  I asked him what we should do about it and he shrugged his shoulders, as a twelve-year-old would.  I gave him some words to use to explain to the Customer Service cashier what had happened and stood back while he remedied this situation.  She was shocked that he was so honest, collected his money for the lemonade, and gave him a store coupon for $2 off of his next purchase.  We didn't know he would get that coupon, intending for him to pay for the lemonade without the expectation of a reward and I really wanted him to know that even if it costs us, we still do what is right.  But I guess it was a good reinforcement to show him that it pays to be honest.

There are many books written on the topic of parenting and while many of these books can be useful, I am ever-thankful that the best parenting instruction comes directly from the Lord.  Proverbs 12:22 says: "The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful."  How amazing and wonderful that a twelve-year-old boy can bring DELIGHT to the Almighty God!  As a mother, my greatest prayer for my children is that they will desire God and choose Him above all.  I want to raise children who will be godly men and women, who will be living testimonies of the power of our risen King.  How fortunate I was that day in Meijer for that unexpected moment that will shape my son's heart in preparation for the man he will become.

In the end, Meijer still lost $2 in the form of a coupon, only it was lost in a way that honored God, delighted Him even.  It would have been easy to avoid all of the hassle involved in paying for the lemonade.  It would also have taught my son that it is okay to profit from the mistake of another person and that it pays to be dishonest.  Instead, ten minutes of my already long day, taught him that it is important to be honest, truthful, and a good witness for Christ at all times, not just when we "feel like it." 

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