Thursday, February 23, 2012


I put them to bed twenty minutes ago. Still their voices carry down the hall to my bedroom. Not soft whispering-in-the-night voices. Angry, arguing voices.

"What's going on?" I yell from my just-got-comfortable spot on my bed. Apparently, Ethan has moved something and it's not right and I "have to come" see what it is. I gather that it involves a nightlight, and I bellow back that I don't want to hear anything else about it. I issue a warning that they are to close their eyes and go to sleep right now and that if I hear their voices again before morning, they will be on screen restriction tomorrow.

This is an enormous threat. Joshua has been working hard for quite some time to earn a Lord of the Rings wii game that he wants desperately. It costs $18.00, and I told him if he earned $10.00, I would pay the rest. (He has more money than that, but he can't bear to part with money he already possesses, so he asked if he could just work for credit toward the game instead of cash.) He finally finished earning his portion on Monday, so late Monday night I ordered the game. Which means it will arrive tomorrow.

He checked the mailbox first thing when he got home from school today justincase it came early. While home sick yesterday, he scoured youtube (under my supervision) for trailers of the game. Earlier tonight, he lamented that he could not will away the hours between waking and getting home from school tomorrow to obtain his new game.

Screen restriction tomorrow is no small threat.

Five minutes go by. I hear a thumping. A banging. I hope it's the cat, but as the noise persists and grows louder, I have to admit that it is coming from my sons' room. Again: "What's going on?" The response involves something about somebody sticking his tongue out and somebody kicking somebody's bed and somebody throwing a pillow at somebody. I am so stupefied by the fact that this is taking place after my warning that I don't pay very close attention to the details.

Instead of responding to the allegations, I issue a simple sentence: Screen restriction tomorrow.

A moment of silence. Then a gasp, a gulp, a sob. The consequence is real.

No, mom, please! The tears flow in earnest as I call him to my room for a discussion.

Were you warned? Yes.
Did you stick out your tongue? Yes.
Why? Because I was mad at Ethan for moving the nightlight.
Was this after I had warned you what would happen? Yes.
But you chose to start a fight instead of closing your eyes and being quiet? Yes.

What is it that makes us think we will be exempt from the consequences we know will stem from our actions? I can't point the finger at my 9 year-old without inculpating myself as well.

I know if I eat junk food I will gain weight.
I know if I procrastinate getting important things done, I will be stressed and become sick.
I know if I am unkind to my husband, my marriage will suffer.
I know that by the measure which I judge others, I will also be judged.

It's not like I haven't been warned. But, in my heart of hearts, I am just like Josh. When faced with the choice between believing that the consequence will follow or giving in to my fleshly desires and hoping I will somehow avert the foretold ending, I usually give in.

I explain to Josh that, as important as his wii game is to him, it means absolutely nothing to me compared to his obedience. That game, I say, is as important to me as a speck of dust compared to his character.

And, as I have come to expect after almost a decade of parenting, I hear God's voice echoing my own. He cares so much more about my character than about my comfort. When will I believe Him?


Jawan said...

OH, why didn't we spend more time together when you were down here in Georgia? WHY? Oh, why!!!!?!!???!?!?!

Kristin said...

Beck, I needed that more than you will ever know. Thank you for sharing...

Angie said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing.