It’s August, and with the coming of this month comes a cooling of the weather. And thoughts of school.
In my household, Fall is hated and loved at the same time. It is a most gorgeous time of the year, we all agree. But it also means the start of the new school year, and my boys put to stop every conversation that veers toward getting ready for the new year.
But yesterday we were out with friends in Arlington and ended up at Target. It was Virginia’s week for tax-free shopping, and we decided to do our school supplies shopping then. All we had to do was download the list for each son, fill up our carts with the items and zoom to the checkout line. We were done before the boys had a chance to protest. It was relatively painless, and one thing checked off my to-do list.
The start of the new school year also means the onslaught of reminders for our boys to do their best in school, and to make the right decisions for their future. It’s that age-old refrain, “We’re not rich and the only thing we can really give you is a good education to prepare you for your future.” I have sons, future providers as husbands and fathers. I double-up on the pressure for the sake of my future daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
But then yesterday came the news that one of the youth from our church changed her plans to go away to a chosen university and instead decided to go to a nearby community college to study nursing. This, after God’s undeniable prompting through an overseas mission trip, conversations with friends, prayers and guidance from her parents. To be without debt so she can leave for the mission field after graduation is not only admirable, it’s downright inspiring.
It also makes you think, doesn’t it?
It stopped me short as I was getting ready to plunge heedlessly into my role as a tiger mom. The red light was blinding. The young girl who made the choice is to be commended, but it is no doubt largely the parenting that she received as she was growing up that gave her the wisdom and courage to make the decision she made. So I started thinking, when each of my boys face that crossroads, which way would they go?
The pressure is on hubby and I.
We hope they follow the path of service.
We hope they honor duty, and sacrifice, and integrity.
We hope our boys end up on paths that lead them to the fulfillment God has in plan for them.
We hope they learn to see their lives as nothing but instruments to bring about mercy and love to people, including people who don’t look and act like them.
These are brave hopes. And the truth is, my mother-heart quails at the thought the paths of service I hope they follow should include pain and suffering.
Having higher goals and aspirations for our children is praise-worthy.
But it will also demand an exchange of sweat and blood, not just from us parents, but from our children as well.
Then I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite Lucy Maud Montgomery characters, “…But it ain’t our feelings we have to steer by through life–no, no we’d make shipwreck mighty often if we did that. There’s only the one safe compass and we’ve got to set our course by that–what it’s right to do.” – Captain Jim Boyd
So I’m sorting through my sons’ clothes, clearing out their closets and making space on their desks for new work to be brought home from new teachers and new challenges.
And I’m telling myself to hold fast to the ideals I cherish, and to pass these on to my boys.
Beyond that, I’m telling myself to trust in the God I tell others is in complete control of the world.