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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Boyhood Expeditions

Lane marched into the kitchen after being called inside from the backyard for dinner. On his way to wash up, he stopped to talk to me.

“Mom!” he said in a very excited voice. I looked at him. He stood there in his rubber rain boots, a toy gun jammed into the waistband of his pants, and a Sprite box on his arm, like a big cardboard sleeve. His dimples were deep because his smile was so broad he could hardly contain it enough to talk.

“I’ve got armor!”

“Armor!” I smiled at him and thumped on the box a few times. “You’re right!” Mr. Edwards looked up from the mail he was reading and looked over at Lane. The Sprite box was a “fridge pack” and fit his arm pretty well, but the box was torn to be shorter and the Sprite artwork on the box was faded by the sun. It was curious because we don’t drink Sprite.

“Lane, where’d you get the box?”

“The P---‘s yard!” His smile and satisfaction persisted.

Mr. Edwards asked, “The front yard or the back?”

Lane’s expression suddenly changed as he realized his predicament. At that moment I knew: he had climbed the fence and fetched this trash out of their yard. He isn’t supposed to climb the fence and be in anyone’s yard but ours. Still, I knew that Lane could do this because I had watched him do it. Sometime ago his ball went over the fence and, unbeknownst to Lane, I watched him scale the fence and retrieve the ball as I stood at our back window. I never spoke to him about it because I knew the P---- family wouldn’t mind him getting his ball.

“The backyard.” He answered obediently and honestly. This surprised me, but I was relieved. It was time to clarify the rule.

“Lane, you can’t climb the fence into their yard.” He knew this instinctively and appeared worried about a coming punishment. “Lane,” I continued, “I know that you can climb the fence and get back into our yard without a problem, but what about Toby? He always tries to do what you do. What if he fell into the other neighbor’s yard? What would I do then? How could I get him out?”

Lane was able to get over the six-foot-cedar fence between our properties only by taking advantage of where our dividing fence met the back fence perpendicularly. The fence between our house and the P----‘s has horizontal boards on our side, but is smooth on their side. Lane was able to get home because the back fence, which belongs to the property behind us, has horizontal boards on our side and runs across both our yard and the P-----‘s. However, this same fence has the smooth pickets on the other side. If Lane---or Toby---tumbled into the yard of the people behind us, it would be very difficult to get out. Especially since we do not know them and they appear to be at work all day long. Their gates could be locked. I shuddered as I imagined myself climbing the fence to try and hoist Toby back over and then trying to figure out my own way out.

Mr. Edwards chimed in, “Plus, they have that dog.”

Lane looked very serious.

“Lane, please don’t climb the fence anymore.” I solemnly told him.

“Besides,” it was Mr. Edwards again; “you need to get permission before you go onto someone else’s property, even the P----‘s.”

“Okay, Dad.”

The boy with a soda box for armor walked off to wash for supper.


Sharon said...

Wow, you both dealt with this so coolly. One of my problems (er, actually that should read "sins") is that I tend to get angry at the kids when they do the wrong or foolish thing, rather than talking to them calmly about what they have done wrong and then disciplining as necessary.

This is something I struggle with daily. Except I do notice that I am much better able to handle myself in a given situation if I am already focussed on them, rather than myself. I think I probably need to learn to be more other-focussed and less self-centred in general. I've been learning a bit of this in the last few days. Paul says in Galatians 5, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." And then a bit later in the chapter he says, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." "

I need to watch myself. It is far to easy to indulge my sinful nature and be selfish, rather than serving my children (and others) in love.

Thanks for making me think this morning!

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

I think we kept our cool because I feel more worried about Toby copying him than Lane getting hurt or stuck in the neighbor's. For once, I was able to see the humor in the situation. Usually, I fly off the handle with, "What were you doing???" and so on.

As for the focusing on self, I'm right there with you! I am reading Jerry Bridges "In Pursuit of Holiness" and in the first chapter he says that one problem Christians have in trying to be holy is that we look for the victory over sin for our own selfish reasons. That is, we long for victory over sin so that we will benefit, rather than longing for victory over sin because our sins grieve God. I found it a subtle but critical difference!

Sharon said...

Hmmm. You could be right in my case. Something more to think about! As always, thank you!

~ Sharon

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