(A.K.A. PREPARE for your words to come back to bite you)
Train up (my word PREPARE) a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). What a haunting verse for me! So today this means to me if I continue to train up my children in procrastination they will NOT only practice it now but when they grow… OUCH!!!
I have taught my children NOT only through my words of “I work well under pressure” BUT also through my actions. The late nights of pouring over last minute projects, being exhausted the next day from the late night, etc…
Sunday night I had a taste of the consequences of me teaching Mary to procrastinate. I work on Sunday nights and this is not something new… but just before she went to bed (which in our house is late — another bad lesson I have taught about being a night owl) she said something like “By the way mom, before you go to bed could you print me out articles for school.” My response is how long have you known about this… and honestly I can’t remember the reply, because I was already thinking in my head — I know it was at the latest on Friday since that is when she had school… Friday night she went to a birthday party and I did not work, she was home all weekend, I was ill but still worked both nights, and she “remembers” to tell me at the last minute…. One of the mantras that I often use in my head is “Keep your mouth shut, Sheri. Keep your mouth shut, Sheri” (I hate arguments and I know that she and I will battle until we both get the last word). So between my calculating when she knew about the assignment and “Keep your mouth shut Sheri” — I began to feel disrespected and angry! As if my time was less important than hers… Her only job is to be a student and I have multiple jobs as a mom and nurse.
MY AHA MOMENT…. I couldn’t say a word though – I taught her to procrastinate which means I taught her to disrespect me!!! How many years has my procrastination affected other people? Have they felt disrespected? Was it true that I worked best under pressure or did I just try to convince myself this so I felt less guilty for doing it? Had I procrastinated intentionally or because I was over committed (at times both applied)? I always warn employers if you really want it two days before a deadline than make that my deadline – but should I just adapt the practice to always have things done early? Could I have given a better effort if I didn’t wait? How much has MY ACTIONS / PROCRASTINATION affected other people…. OUCH again – I wanted to cry!!!
Monday night, Mary felt the AHA MOMENT (I hope)!!! The kids didn’t go to school Monday.. long story. I specifically said to Mary, are you going to miss anything and she assured me nothing she couldn’t quickly make up. (Mary is one who missed 7 days of school and took her homework with her and returned and was caught up in a day or two)… Well, in the evening we were all feeling better and we went to celebrate Jim’s birthday and we came home and it dawned on her… she had a project due on Tuesday, still had the papers she wanted me to print out to do (nope I didn’t get to them after work), and realized she missed a Social Studies test… generally NOT a big deal! BUT it is the end of the nine weeks and grades will be completed… AND she realized she did NOT bring home her notebook with her project and the directions to complete it. To further complicate things it is a GROUP project (she unfortunately is not grouped with someone of equal educational drive). We talk and try to come up with solutions… I gently asked when she knew it was due and she said Friday… I asked why didn’t you bring home your stuff over the weekend.. and her reply was I figured I can do it on Monday night! OUCH – those would be MY exact words!!! I can’t yell and I can only help her create a solution (this is NOT the time for a lecture PLUS I trained her to do this)… We discussed many options but each was not the RIGHT thing to do… After her tears, her fear of her first ever detention, and anger (at me), the final solution was to re-find the internet sites, re-write the paper, re-create the spread sheet. It took a lot of work and most of the evening. The blessing was after all the emotion I was able to say – Mary, you know I am working on PREPARE this year and I think maybe you could too! In the future you need to write in your agenda or calendar important deadlines and tests (and not rely on your brain that is never awake in the morning) and PREPARE in advance and get things done early. It leaves time for errors, mistakes, sick days, etc… I asked that we work on PREPARE together and remind each others gently when needed! We got everything done – I sat and watched her for emotional support… all the while thinking I have to change things NOW – not tomorrow!!!
It also taught US by not PREPARING it interfered with someone else – Jim. His birthday dinner was great, but the ending not so much with the homework episode. I had kind of thought we could sit as a family and watch a movie… Instead, we did homework… Also, I never got anywhere to buy the cake mix and icing because I got sick.. but I have KNOWN about his birthday since the day we met – it hasn’t changed… I definitely have to work harder on the Preparing to Celebrate (but I did buy him a bag of Godiva extra dark chocolates which hopefully softened the blow of no cake)…
Thank you Lord for giving me MY WORD – PREPARE in 2012. I can feel it rippling through my life and into the life of the people and things I encounter. Help me to PREPARE my children in the way they should go… May I remember PREPARATION is a sign of respect!!! Thank you for the AHA Moment!!