“Mom?” implored Teen Take-Out as I picked up his call. “Where are you?”

I was 5 minutes late picking up the kid at school. Normally I sit outside waiting for at least 15 (texting “I’m here.”, “I’m waiting.” “Please come out.” to no reply) so I didn’t feel any rush to get there on time.

“I’m on my way.” I tell him.


“Are you okay? Normally you don’t call.”


“How are you doing?”

“Oh. … Bye.”

As with so many things these days, I shake my head and keep driving. Whatever.

When he gets in the car, we actually converse. It’s good to capitalize on those openings because you never know when they’re coming and when they’re off limits. Pleasantries are exchanged, topics avoided, then I head down a road I knew needed careful navigation. It has to do with the silly line I’ve drawn in the sand – the hospitality one.

“So… you may not know, but this month I want you all to learn about hospitality.”

“MOM… No…. Is this for your blog?!”

(Small intermission here: I’ve noticed that many of my little equipping tasks have hit a hard wall. The kids think the only reason I’m introducing new concepts and making them do “weird” things like cook, or clean, or laundry (I’m still mortified these tasks are so foreign to them!) is for the blog. Well, the greatest purpose the blog serves for me is accountability. I can tell you with certainty, if y’all weren’t holding me accountable, I would have bailed by now.

Plus, I’m really LOVING our guest bloggers!!! (Here’s a loud MOAT shout-out to our wonderful wisdom-givers. THANK YOU! You’re making me a much better mom.) … Okay, so the blog might make them think this is a game, which it isn’t. But our life-styles do the same for all our kids. They feel like daily tasks are something we make up to cause them pain. They’re so accustomed to having things done for them, they can’t imagine life without their mothers, housekeepers, yard workers, etc. doing it all. In fact, they don’t believe the work is real even when those helpers are removed. I’ve watched mine tolerate working, almost biding their time, until things get back to normal. Very interesting (and maybe a bit disappointing) to consider.)

“So… I might blog about it, but I think it is very important for you to learn hospitality.”

“What do you mean by “hospitality”?” Oh, yeah … he even did the snarky air-quote thing.

“Well, I need to sit you all down and talk about this, but basically I want you to throw a party.”

I wince, waiting for the onslaught of protest.

“What kind of party?”

“Anything you want. You’ll get a budget of $50 to use for invitations, refreshments and party favors.”

“Can I just invite Brandon & Henry?”

(Oh, my word… He’s not freaking out!!)

“Sure”, I reply. “You can invite whoever you want. But you must send an invitation.”

… then as if on cue…

“Why can’t I text them?”

I sigh and eye-roll him. Ummm. Those do feel good. I know why they throw them my way so often.

“Look, that’s why you have a budget. There are several ways to do it, but for our purpose you will send an invitation either through the mail or hand-delivered.”

okay.” I think he’s realized I’m on a war-path. Resistance isn’t working well. He continues, “I’m going to have a video game party. Then maybe we can swim. They will love that.” … He starts to get on a roll… “Yeah! The new Halo comes out tomorrow this week. That will be fun. I can use all the money plus some I’ve saved and get it.”

All right, no need to go into the positive (if there are any) and negatives of x-Box gaming, at least he’s excited about having his friends over – or maybe he wants a free $50 to help buy a game. I’m going to assume the positive rather than negative. I explain the budget needs to cover everything, including food and favors … a little something to celebrate his guests and thank them for coming.

mean like at the Dollar Tree?” He asks as I think about dishing out another eye-roll, but he quickly follows with, “No… I’m going to the candy store at the mall and getting a bag of mini jaw breakers. They love those.”

At this point, I sigh a very happy sigh of contentment. He’s getting it. He’s actually stopped thinking about himself and started thinking about how to serve his friends.

Maybe this will hospitality thing just might work.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

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