One of my sons had become extremely bossy of late, demanding I take him here and there, and one day, when we pulled into the driveway, he commanded, “Be ready in ten minutes, and I’m hungry, make me a sandwich!”
Hmm…I wondered if aliens had abducted him and replaced his brain with someone else’s. We don’t treat each other like that here.
Thank you, Father, for this opportunity.
Knowing that teenagers are frequently in phases of hormonal flux, I chose to not take his behavior personally.
I sensed the Lord’s prompting for a teachable moment, and instead of carrying out his request, I went upstairs, lay down on my bed, and started reading a magazine.
He burst into my room, “We have to leave! We’re going to be late!!! What are you doing? Where’s my sandwich?!”
Oh my. Father, help me be your love to this man/boy.
It was time to push the “reset” button.
“Baby, I love it that you have all these friends and fun things to do. I usually like to take you the places you need to go, and I love to see you spend time with your peeps. I have noticed that you have been increasingly bossy the last few weeks, and though I’ve talked to you about this a few times, you haven’t changed your behavior. As a result, I’m not going to make you a sandwich, nor am I going to drive you over to your friend’s house. You can go, but I won’t be the one getting you there. If you want to walk, that’s fine.”
His mouth fell open, eyes wide. “But…”
Then I got up and left my room, and went out the front door to get the mail.
(Because men need space to “chew” on information… to process.)
When I came back in, he was waiting for me. “You’re right, mom. I’ve been really rude and bossy. I’m sorry. I haven’t been respectful and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. It must make you feel like I take you for granted. I really appreciate your driving me around and stuff. Will you forgive me?”
“Of course, I forgive you. Thank you for understanding how I feel. I do feel taken for granted. I don’t want to feel that way in our relationship, and your apology and how you treat me in the future will impact that. Thank you,” I replied.
“So can we go?” he asked.
“Honey, you can go, but I’m not going to drive you over there. Let’s see how things go and maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll feel like driving you around again,” I said.
“But you forgave me. I’m confused,” he said.
“I do forgive you – but there are consequences,” I said. “I do love you, too, you know.”
He managed to talk his friend’s mom into coming to get him, and when he returned, he was a kinder, more respectful, gentler young man.
His friend’s mom made a decision to come get him, and that decision was hers to make. I chose not to worry about the imposition. I have also driven my sons friends around, so I understand these things.
What is interesting is that there is a line we walk daily as we interact with this world.
The line is between respecting the temple of the Holy Spirit (ourselves) and serving other people. Dare you to develop your relationship with God such that you know what it looks like, and you know how to handle the situations that present themselves to you daily. If you do this you’ll be wise to the enemy’s lies that you are a doormat when you serve or domineering when you gently, respectfully help others treat you with dignity.
Dare you to understand that contrary to much of the teaching out there in Christiandom, this applies in marriage and is not contrary to the concepts of submission and respect. I know someone is going to take me to task on this one, but I dare you to show me the scriptures that say otherwise. Prove to me that women are second class citizens compared to men. That notion is rubbish.
Double dog dare you to ask God to teach you how this plays out in your own life…
Glad you are on the journey with us! It’s more cozy with you here.
Love to you,
What about you? What have you been taught? Do you help others respect you? Does it influence how you serve? How do you struggle with “the line?”