Rite of passage parenting: Déjà Vu
Not long ago, my wife and I ran into a situation we’d experienced before. We got in the car to go to work, and she asked, “Do you have your glasses?”
“No, I don’t.” I had to get out of the car, turn off our alarm system and walk upstairs to retrieve them. After retracing my steps, I buckled my seatbelt.
My wife had another question. “Do you have your phone?”
“No.” Exit the car, disarm the system, climb the stairs, grab the phone, hurry to the car and buckle my seatbelt.
She turned to me again. “Did you turn on the alarm?”
“No.” I unbuckled one more time, got out of the car and headed for the house. Finally, I was back in the car for the fourth time.
At least she waited until I was backing out of the driveway to ask: “Did you turn on the garage light?”
Sure enough, I looked up and there, shining in all its glory, was our lonely garage light bulb. Being a kind woman, my wife told me, “I’ll get it.” She got out of the car, walked back into the garage and flipped the switch.
After she returned, we sat in silence. Neither of us dared ask another question because someone would have to get out of the car.
When we had two young children, we sometimes went through the same routine. We’d be in the car and one of us would ask, “Did you get the diaper bag?” Someone would have to leave our vehicle and go inside.
“Did you get the baby’s bottle out of the refrigerator?” “Did you get the stroller?” “Did you turn off the curling iron?” “Did you turn off the television?” “Did you get the pink medicine?” “Did you get the playpen?” “Did you get their toys?” The more kids you have, the more stuff you have to take with you.
One Christmas, we were going from Tulsa to Hannibal, Mo. to visit my wife’s parents. Forty-five miles down the road, my bride turned me to and asked, “Did you get it?”
I gave her my confused look. I do a really good confused look when I’m confused.
She rolled her eyes toward the back seat and our two sons. I remained confused. Taking pity on me, she offered another clue: “The stuff. In the attic?”
Suddenly, it dawned on me: she was asking if I’d gotten the boys’ Christmas presents. She’d concealed them in a trash bag and hidden them in the attic above the garage. Since our boys had inherited my gift of snooping, that was about the only place we could think of hiding anything.
My face revealed the answer.
Have you and your spouse ever had a heated conversation in front of your kids—the kind where you press your lips together and hum your words?
Now we faced a dilemma: turn around and waste both time and gas by driving the 45 minutes back, or keep going and waste time and money buying more presents after we got to Grandma’s house?
It didn’t take long to decide. We turned around, went back home and retrieved our original purchases.
Most of us don’t like to make decisions, but the Bible gives us plenty of guidance in this area. The only time we don’t have to make a choice is when God has already made it for us. When the Bible makes a decision for me, I don’t have to think about it, pray about it, talk to others about it, fret about it or weigh the pro and cons.
I don’t have to pray about loving a brother, because the Bible has spoken. I don’t have to pray about going to the mission field. God has already said, “Go.” (Fact: two-thirds of God is go).
The other day, I was thinking about one of the shortest verses in Scripture, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). God gave Lot’s family instructions not to look back on Sodom. But Mrs. Lot had to take one last peek, and “whoosh” (don’t look for that word in your Bible), she was turned into a pillar of salt.
We can find biblical examples for many situations we go through in life. If God has already spoken about your exact situation, good. If not, find a Bible story where people faced a similar decision and see what happened. As you study, you’ll find the good path to trod.
One more thing: ask all your questions at once, or you’ll find yourself retracing your steps. Over and over again.