Back in my drugs and gambling days I did a lot of “things” I was ashamed of doing. But I don’t know if I’ve ever been more ashamed of myself as I was yesterday. Here is this week’s story …
Yesterday my daughter had an early morning business meeting out of town and my son-in-law had to work early shift … so I agreed to drive my grandchildren to school. As my daughter well knows, I’m a real stickler when it comes to my grandchildren being on time for school.
I’d hoped to leave for school at 6:30 AM but Jairus and Rachel weren’t ready when I went to pick them up. By the time they did get ready and inside the car it was 6:45. Still, I figured we’d have time to stop and eat breakfast … being the school’s tardy bell doesn’t ring until 8:10 … and the school is just a tad more than thirty miles from home.
After stopping at the local Waffle House and eating a good “solid” breakfast … Jairus asked me if he could drive the rest of the way to school … and I replied “Yes”. Up until then, I’d forgotten that two weeks ago on Jairus’ 15th birthday he’d received his limited learner’s permit.
It was 7:46 when we pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot to head to school. I kept my eyes on the clock as Jairus drove. Afraid the children were going to be late, I told Jairus to drive faster. He wouldn’t. He then reminded me of the speed limit (55). To which I said “rules are meant to be broken.” … implying he could break the speed limit law!
By the time we entered the city limits I was at the point of pulling my hair out. In a hurried and loud voice I exclaimed … “Jairus, you’ve got four minutes to get to school or you and Rachel are going to be late! Drive faster!” We’re now in a 45 mph zone and the boy is driving 45 miles an hour! Mind you 45 miles an hour and not a lick faster. Meanwhile my whole body is tensed up from stress and all I can think is “Let me have the wheel!!!”
About this time my 81 year old mother (Jairus & Rachel’s great-grandmother) who is sitting in the back seat with Rachel … is telling Jairus what a fine person he is for obeying the speed limit. In other words, she’s encouraging him not to speed!!!!
“I feel so safe with you at the wheel” she tells him. Jairus replies, “Thank you grandmama. I love you.”
At 8:09 I realized the children were definitely going to be late for school and it was all my fault. I shouldn’t have stopped at the Waffle House. Why oh why didn’t I get our breakfast at the Bojangles or McDonald’s drive thru?
In one final attempt to get Jairus to drive a little faster I said; “Jairus, if I’d been driving … you and Rachel would already be in your classroom and me and your great-grandmother would be half-way home! How did Jairus respond to my words? By saying …”Calm down. Everything’s okay. Stop stressing out.”
We pulled into the school’s parking lot at 8:11 …one whole minute late. Once the car came to a complete stop, Rachel immediately grabbed her backpack and lunch bag and ran into the school building. But not Jairus.
Instead of rushing inside to class, Jairus waited for me while I got out of the passenger’s side and walked around the car to get in behind the steering wheel. Holding his backpack and lunch bag in one hand, he reached out with his other arm and grabbed me as I neared him. Wrapping his strong arm around me in a tight hug, he whispered in my ear, “Drive carefully and no speeding. I love you.”
Now do you see why I felt so ashamed of my actions yesterday? What kind of grandmother tells their grandchild to speed? To drive faster than the posted speed limit? To my way of thinking, by telling my grandson (and my granddaughter because 8-year-old Rachel was “all ears” sitting in the back seat) that it was okay to disobey the speed limit … I was also teaching them that it was okay for them to disobey their parents, to disobey their teachers, and any other authority figures they’ll have in life. Worse of all … I was teaching them it was okay to disobey God. And that’s what caused me to feel the most shame about my actions. You see, when I die, I want my grandchildren to remember me as being a grandmother who loved God and was obedient to God … regardless of the cost. For by example, my lifestyle influences my grandchildren. And with all of my heart, I hope my grandchildren will love and obey God all the days of their lives … no matter the cost.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”—John 14:23 (NIV)
Debra Joy Wallace is a Christian columnist and speaker. Facebook page: Weight Loss Empowerment with Debra Joy – Website: www.debrawallace.com – Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org