Sunday, December 06, 2009

Small Price to Pay

We've had some issues surface with our kids over the last month. Issues besides body fluids. Issues that make me wonder if I am the biggest parenting hack to ever be blessed with children. I'm so impatient when I deal with things. Sometimes I'm busy and there isn't time to stop and talk it out. Sometimes I'm lazy. Sometimes I just don't care. Aren't you admiring my parenting skills?

I am learning that if you don't take care of little things, they grow into monstrous problems. Like the little leak in the washing machine or the spill in the back of the fridge.

A few weeks ago the school hosted their blasted book fair. I know it's a fundraiser and I'm a big fan of books, but people we are not made of money. Not only do they sell books but they sell all sorts of other junk trinkets. The kids make wish lists and then drag you in there when you are at conferences. Being the pushover I am, I told them they could buy a book. A book, not junk. Grant wanted an electronic organizer that was $10. We said no. He didn't want to buy anything else.

The next day he told me he was going to buy a book after all and took his money to school. I didn't think anything of it, until a week later when I was going through his backpack and found the electronic organizer. I was a mix of mad and shocked. We had explicitly told him no.

I brought it down and put it on his bathroom dresser while he was brushing his teeth; no drama, no yelling. That night Mike and I sat down with him. Mike asked him to show him all the things this organizer could do, which was basically nothing. We talked about disobeying and deceit. He felt bad and asked for forgiveness. We decided that it was punishment enough to have wasted his money on a piece of junk.

Grant also had to do a report this fall. It was based on a field trip they took for Conservation Day. He had not written down all the information he needed that day. He got an F. Now Grant is an A student. School work comes naturally to him which is nice since he is somewhat irresponsible.

When we were at conferences that report came up. It was a major part of his science grade. He ended up on the "B" honor roll because of it. The "B" honor roll is great. But he knows he could have done better. His teacher had laid out exactly the information she wanted them to record and report on. He just didn't take the time to pay attention.

Abby wanted to bring a dollar for the school store because she needed erasers. I offered her a bunch of erasers out of my stash. We told her we didn't want her to bring money to school. She had just bought a book at the book fair. She fussed and whined. Everyone buys stuff at the school store! It wasn't that the dollar was too much, it's more about teaching them to spend wisely and not do what everyone else does.

When she was leaving for school, I noticed her slipping that dollar in her pocket. I asked her if she was going to disobey with it. She handed it to me. I put it back in her purse.

I know in the grand scheme of things these are minor issues. When situations like this come up I either tend to flip out, give in or gloss it over. That's no way to handle these little issues.

These lessons are important to learn now. They are important to talk about and stand firm on. It takes a lot of energy. It takes time. It takes patience.

Isn't it better if they can learn they are wasting ten dollars before it become $100?

I want them to learn how important it is to be attentive to their teachers and assignments in fifth grade when their GPA doesn't really matter very much.

I want them to know how crucial it is to save money and be wise how we spend it when we're only dealing with a dollar.

It's important for them to be able to avoid feeling like they have to do something, just because their friends might be doing it.

It's good to teach them not to color on the walls and respect property when it's something that can be washed off instead of paint on someone else's garage door.

It's better to take the time to teach them to take care of their siblings things so they'll learn before they trash a friend's sweater or video game.

I'm trying to remember it's worth the time and energy. All these little day in and day out situations add up to important lessons to learn while there is still only a small price to pay.

Proverbs 14:8
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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