For the last 2 months my week day mornings consist of nagging my teenager to hurry up, get dressed, brush his teeth, pack his lunch etc. I’ve offered him money if he can be ready to leave for school on time. I’ve threatened to take his bedroom door off so he can’t go back to bed after we’ve read and prayed together as a family. I’ve threatened on many occasions that if he isn’t ready on time he will need to find his own way to school….and every time I’ve failed to follow through, rationalizing in my head that this time an exception should be granted.
But, not today. I warned him right after he got up that if he wasn’t in the car by 7:40am he would need to find his own way to school. He wasn’t ready until 7:45am. He wasn’t that late, I started to rationalize; and he did get dressed faster today than any other day…I didn’t want to penalize that. Plus, I’d never ridden the route with him before, and all the cars backing out of driveways…would they see him, would he see them?
I swallowed my fears and gathered my courage to tell him he needed to find his own way to school.
He stormed out of the house as if I were the devil.
I texted my husband, who was already at work:
After a stomach churning twenty minutes he made it to school. Riding his bike to school also meant he had to ride home. When he arrived home he was coming from the “wrong” direction. He told me he rode home ALONG THE FRONTAGE ROAD to avoid seeing the kids from his old school. THE FRONTAGE ROAD, the road with really fast cars and not so friendly homeless men!!!!
I know, I know…this was character building (for both of us), it taught him responsibility, and independence (you know that skill he’s going to need when he moves out at 18). He even told me it wasn’t so bad and he may do it again. It took a lot of guts, but I turned to him and said, “If you’re not ready by 7:40 that will be your only method of getting to school”.
I know this is a good thing for him, but man it was hard for me. I have no problem helping my kids be successful when they are helping themselves, but I get mean and snarly when they don’t help themselves and I just enable them. Enabling isn’t really good for either of us, but it is the easy way out (at least in the short term).