And now, time for a pointless story. Oh wait. They are all pretty much pointless. Very well then.
So then, the other day Sean dropped a gummy bear on the floor. He picked it up and started to put it in his mouth. In keeping with Section 2, Article 4, Paragraph 3.5 of the Mothering Handbook, I instructed him not to eat it and to put it in the trash instead. I’m not one to freak out about that kind of thing too much. I’ve been known to eat a potato chip or two off the floor, but it’s right there in the handbook and I’m working towards my mothering merit badge.
He looked at me for a split second and then popped it in his mouth and quickly swallowed it. And then continued to look at me without so much as blinking.
Now, according to the same handbook, this was a clear health and safety violation, meaning when one goes against mama, they are risking their health and safety.
But I let him off the hook. I gave him a light scolding for disobedience and a small lecture about how one probably shouldn’t eat stuff off the floor, citing the episode on Myth Busters where Jamie and Adam debunk the five-second rule. And I let it go at that.
Normally, when Sean is blatantly disobedient, correction is swift and certain. But on that day I saw something of myself in that little gummy gobbling boy. I was reminded that sometimes at that age, the things we do are less a result of disobedience so much as that we are victims of the laws of forward motion. Sometimes, we want to be obedient, we want to be good, we do. It’s just that we are unable to stop an impulse that has already fired — a lot like trying to put a speeding bullet back in the gun.
When I was in about the third grade, I was walking between two rows of desks from the front of the class room towards the back. Just before I got to David Kruger’s desk, a paper he was working on slid off his desk and floated this way and then that before it settled on the floor.
Now David was a very meticulous sort of guy, from his crew cut to the way he always colored in the lines. Well, there was David’s paper on the floor and I could have probably stepped over it, but for some reason, a reason I still don’t understand, I stepped right on his paper leaving a big dusty footprint.
And it’s not that I was bad or mean, unless you were to ask one of my brothers, it was just that I was caught up in forward motion and I couldn’t stop myself. And I have to tell you, to this day, I can still see that paper lying on the floor with my footprint on it and I still feel badly about it. Sometimes being able to remember everything that ever happened to you is a curse.
Naturally David wailed at the injustice. “Aaak! She stepped on my paper!” he bawled with all due indignation.
The teacher looked up from her desk. I did my best impression of innocence. And because she was probably down to her last nerve and more interested in peace than justice, she suggested to David that I probably didn’t do it on purpose.
Oh sweet undeserving grace and mercy how I adore thee.
“Yes she did!” he gasped, “She looked right at me and stepped on my paper!” It was true. I did. And I did it without so much as blinking. He was aghast. He look at me and then back at the teacher in disbelief. His face was red. I shrugged my shoulders and walked back to my seat, probably not even offering an apology.
So David, I want to apologize. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to step on your paper. I just couldn’t exactly stop myself.
And neither could Sean which is why he got sweet undeserving grace and mercy as opposed to time out.
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Speaking of obedience, I’m over here too if you are following the on-line Bible study.