About a year ago, on a cold winter’s morning, the kids and I were on our way to school. We commute about 25 minutes everyday, so the routine of rushing everyone into the car with lunches and backpacks have become old hat.
This particular morning I was especially stressed with the chaos of the morning. Kids were arguing with each other and were extra slow to get ready for the day. I was thinking I’d be late for work and was already annoyed with the massive messes that were going to be waiting for me when I returned home at the end of a long day.
I was frustrated and began telling the kids as much; they needed to get up earlier, they needed to stop fighting so much, they needed to clean up after themselves; they needed to be more responsible and OBEY the house rules!
As we turned our regular left and drove down the hill to our first stop light, I continued to talk and talk and talk. All of the sudden, I looked in my rear view mirror only to see bright lights flashing at me.
My heart sunk.
The officer kindly asked me if I knew I was going 57 mph in a 40. I didn’t. I always thought that road was 45 (not that I gave that excuse to the officer!) and had no idea I was going that fast. I was too busy lecturing my kids about obeying the rules. Imagine the irony of that!
Not only was I speeding, but my license was in my husband’s wallet from an evening out a few days prior and my newly received insurance card was sitting on my office desk.
I was a walking mess. This rule follower felt embarrassed and ashamed. But I also saw the humor. Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves.
My two older kids also recognized the humor in the situation. How funny was it that Mommy got reprimanded for breaking the rules while she was reprimanding them for doing the same thing. They weren’t about to let me off the hook that quickly!
Parenting is a whole lot of eating your words and replacing them with humbleness, isn’t it?
The officer, though, gave me nothing but grace. She spoke to me kindly and with respect. She also lowered my ticket by quite a bit. I was so thankful for the way she handled everything. She didn’t have to go easy on me, yet she did. I learned a lot that day.
Speaking with grace, kindness and respect has a greater impact than me lecturing and ranting out of frustration.
That ticket has been a constant reminder to give my children grace. We all have bad days. We all have days where we break well-known rules and just miss the mark. I’m constantly asking myself if I’m giving them the grace their hearts need.