You know how sometimes you question yourself as a parent? Am I doing the right thing? Am I screwing up my kids? Am I being to hard or too lenient with them? Will they turn out to be more like Moses or more like Ted Bundy? You get the picture. I have days like these all the time, and with 7 different personalities to contend with I just may end up with a little bit of everything by the time all is said and done. But what I love is when my kids do something that just floors me and lets me know that hey, I’m doing a pretty good job after all! Today was one of those days and I just HAD to share it with y’all!
For those of you who know my son Jonathan, you know how straight-laced that boy is. He never settles for anything less than 100% in anything he does. He is the most loyal, honest, trustworthy, hard-working, overachieving kid I have ever seen. He’s got a heart the size of Kansas and his work ethic is amazing for a boy his age.
Earlier tonight, Jonathan came up to me with tears in his eyes. I could tell he had been crying for quite some time. He looked at me with this intense sadness in his eyes and hands me a quarter. I asked him what it was for and he explained, “When we still lived in Enterprise you gave me 75 cents to donate at the library one day. I noticed one of the quarters was a state quarter that I didn’t have yet, so I kept it and only donated 50 cents.” Then he started sobbing. I was speechless. We haven’t lived in Enterprise for 3 years! For 3 years this has been eating away at my son. He clearly got away with it. I never knew anything about it, yet the guilt had been weighing on him for the last 3 years and it had finally just been too much for him to handle and he had to tell me…and return the “stolen” quarter.
I hugged my son so tightly and just held him for a few minutes while he cried. He was rubbing my back as we hugged, as if to comfort me. I came out of the hug and started off by saying, “First of all, I want you to know how very disappointed I am in the choice you made back then. You chose to do a very selfish thing with money that wasn’t yours, in essence you stole from me.” At this point he broke down again. I continued,” That money was not for you. It was so lots of other kids could enjoy books at the library; kids who’s mom’s can’t just go run to Barnes and Noble and drop $20 on the latest teen novel. Kids who’s mom’s struggle every day just to put food on the table, so they go to the library to get books to read.” I could tell he had had enough and my point had been clearly made, so I moved on…”Secondly, I want to tell you how very proud I am of you for coming to me and telling me this. You had clearly gotten away with what you had done, but you chose to be honest with me…and repay what you stole…and for that I think the world of you! You may have made a bad choice back then, but you are making it right now and that tells me exactly what an honorable person you are…and I’m proud of you.” He threw himself into my arms and must have said he was sorry about 10 times. When he was done crying we talked a little bit and he said this had been bothering him ever since the day he did it and that he felt so much better telling me about it.
Kids will be kids. We as parents will do our damnedest to raise our kids the best we can, but ultimately as was the case with my son, at the end of the day the choices they make will ultimately be theirs to own. We can only pray that God instills in our children a good conscience and a strong sense of right and wrong. I am so proud of Jon and of what he did. There is still hope that we can raise decent children who will grow up to be honorable young men and women and make a positive difference in the world. All is not lost with the Britney Spears of the world. I will go to bed tonight so thankful for all I’ve been blessed with. It hasn’t been easy raising these kids, and my job is far from over, but it’s days like these that make it all worth while!
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