“Just so you know, November is our month for errands.” I informed the kids last week.
“Whaaattt?!!!”, “No fair!”, “Maawwhhmm please no.”
As usual, I do what I’ve become so accustomed to doing these past few months, I completely ignore the pathetic pleadings from my independence-budding brood.
Then I pull up to the gas station. Teen Take-Out, who is in a hurry to pick up his friend for a movie scheduled to begin within minutes, groans as if he knows the next words about to come out of my mouth. He was probably right to moan.
Glad I wasn’t in the same boat as the time I kicked the kid out of the car for his inaugural gas pump (see “Huh” post on April 13), I stop the car with an, “Okay. Jump out and start pumping.”
“Mom – We’re going to be late.”
“Well, you’d better get going. Because we have no gas – and I’m not pumping.”
“MOM.” He tried to balk, but oooohh… suh a lame attempt. The kid knows his near future involves gas flowing into a car at his hand.
“Tick. Tock. … The faster you get started, the quicker we pick up your friend.”
“Alright.” … Even the surrender was less dramatic than a few months ago. Maybe we are making headway.
In the usual way, he lumbered to the pump. I roll down the window and hand him my credit card, explaining for the world to hear, how to use the darn thing.
Somewhere, a Jim Nance voice can be heard hush whispering to the non-existent crowd.
Note the young man’s posture as he introduces himself to the pump. Eyes forward, ignoring the incessant chatter from the mother leaning out her window. Does she not realize that young men do not appreciate their mothers talking to them (for the world to see) about things to which they might not be familiar. Has she shattered his “with-it” facade? We’ll have to watch and see. As it stands, the offspring’s only desire at this moment is to disappear, somewhere far, far away from the direction-laden parent broadcasting to the world the kid’s lack of knowledge on a subject.
“Mom. I know.” he cooly responds as he jerks the card in and out of the pump.
“Are you doing it right?! You know there’s a picture that shows you how to d -”
“MOM. I KNOW HOW TO DO IT!!”
In out. In out. … It’s not only not working, I’m beginning to worry that my card will be rejected on account of the many failed attempts to pay at a pump. And yes, yet again, I have no cash.
He puts the handle in the car and pushes “Regular” without my direction. (At least he remembered that.)
Still – no action.
“I’m not sure you did the card right.” I try to help.
“I DID IT RIGHT.”
At this point I get out of the car.
“Uh… I don’t think so. (“Transaction Rejected” on the screen was my first hint.) “See the magnetic strip needs to face this way. It’s right there on the picture.” I add pointing at the clear image showing exactly how the card should be used in the machine. My word.
“You’re doing a great job,” I sunshiny-ly add. He didn’t buy it. … He pumped. I got back into the car.
Fast forward to Day 4 of Errand Month. Speed Police and I are headed to the grocery store.
“You know this is Errand Month,” I remind her.
“Mom! I’m NOT going in the grocery store by myself.”
Now if she had never done it before, that would be one thing. But clearly, when the potential purchase item holds a place of importance – she’s happy to brave the aisles alone. So playing the “I don’t know how to do it” card just wasn’t going to cut it. I was surprised at her reaction. As scheduled chef for the night, she was planning her famous butter/parmesan pasta (yes… again!). All she needed to do was run in and grab a box of noodles. That was it.
“I’m NOT going in there alone!”
“Listen. You can do it. I know you can.”
“NO. … I don’t like going into the grocery store.”
“Well, neither do I. But I don’t much have a choice, do I.”
“Neither do the other moms. And that’s who’s in there. Moms! … and maybe 16-yr-olds – But not MY friends.”
Sister Save-A-Lot was quick to pipe in, “I’ll do it!”… but that wasn’t the issue. Speed Police had a point. I got out and went in with her. It gave me the opportunity to remind her how to find an item and show her how to input our savings card information in order to receive any discounts.
“You just might be the only 12-year-old checking out alone, but this isn’t a big ask. Not only can you do it, you can do it well. And it would make you feel great about yourself … just like all the other things we’ve been doing. It’s not and never will be about what “everyone else” is doing. You’re capable, kid.”
Aaahhh… always a little lecture right on the tip of my tongue. Did she listen? Who knows. At least she didn’t “Maaawwhhmm!!!” me.
Both incidents further confirmed to me how important it is to get the kids involved in these very simple life tasks. They CAN do it. They should be doing it.
To be continued….
Thanks for walking the road with me.
We’ve got some GREAT guest bloggers coming our way in the next month: popular radio personality and author Susie Davis (those from Austin know her well), John Townsend, Kathleen Fischer and a few surprise superstars. Please get your email lists together and forward a link to the MOAT to as many people as possible.
Standing in that grocery store line, realizing that collectively we tend to under ask/expect from our kids, I was hit (for the gazillionth time) by the fact that our homes just might be the catalyst to change the tide. Move away from “Youth Entitlement” … toward equipping these phenomenal leaders of tomorrow.
So… for those interested, I have a copy of June Hunt and Jody Capehart’s TERRIFIC (it is really good!) new book called “Bonding With Your Teen Through Boundaries” and a copy of Kathleen Fischer’s “Bringing Our Boys Through the Second Decade” to give away.
I’m going to pretend like I’m a real blogger and offer these books to anyone who emails 10 friends with a link to themoatblog, letting them know they can easily subscribe if they like it. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know your spreading the MOAT love and I’ll put your name in a drawing for the books. Want to email more than 10? GREAT. Just tell me how many groups you contact and I’ll enter your name more than once. Does that sound like fun?? I’m sure I need a deadline, so let’s say November 19th (hey… we recovering procrastinators need a little time… and maybe some reminding… okay, so someone to do it for us. I’m working on it!)
ALSO … (sorry for the housekeeping)
Do you have a fun story of service in your family?? December is “Service … ‘Tis the season to focus on others.” Month. I’d really love to highlight stories from each of you. Would you share?? Sharing might spur someone on to a good deed they might not have considering doing… :) Send those to my gmail also and I’ll try to post as many as possible. I know you all have some good stuff. We’d all love to know.
Okay … That’s a
ll for now. Thanks you guys for walking the road together! (I spoke w/a MOAT mom yesterday who told me there’s power in numbers! …So great :)