Jail is not my biggest fear for my kids.
However, it is a great starting point for several of life lessons.
1. You cannot hit your sister/brother, even if they hit you first. You might end up in prison someday when you are older for fighting. It is better to give a soft answer by walking away or talking to them nicely; it turns away wrath. Be a peacemaker.
2. That is not yours and you cannot take it. That is stealing. When adults steal, they get locked-up behind bars. Ask first to borrow or to share it. If they say no, then that is the answer. Walk away.
3. Say no to drugs, especially those with another’s name on it prescribed by a doctor. Those are safe for them only, not for you. Drug addiction leads to dependence which can get you into lots of trouble in life. Just say no to drugs.
4. Some day you will drive a car. Far too often accidents happen when phones are used while driving or when you are distracted. Pay attention to the road. Pull the car over to a safe spot to use your phone. You could hurt yourself in an accident or even worse, another person. People may go to jail for causing accidents.
“They will learn from this, I told myself. I remember when I heard it.”
As the youngest in my family, it came as second nature for me to learn from those older than me. I learned from a more experienced mom. We walked out of the school’s drug awareness meeting at the same time but our places in parenting separated us by 10 years. My oldest child played with kindergarteners; her youngest studied with high-schoolers. The words she offered that night were not forgotten.
She shared, “I told my kids if they ever did anything to get themselves in jail, then they probably deserved to be there and I would not help get them out.”
At that time, it made perfect sense. I agreed. I decided right then, that tomorrow would be the first day I would advise our children, all 6 years old and under, the same thing. So, I did.
Then it happened. (Shoot! She is stopping.)
Oh, no. No. Girls, I just hit the car in front us.
Yes! There I sat with both hands on the steering wheel, stunned and surprised. My heart pounded uncontrollably. ‘Why isn’t the person getting out of the car in front of me? Are they OK?’ I quickly put the car into park. I left the two sweet little girls in their car seats and dashed over to the driver’s side of the car in front of me. Are you alright? I am so sorry. The light turned green. You started to go and then you stopped. I didn’t stop in time. I am so sorry. Are you injured? The other car’s closed window and door did not respond. Time stood still. Nothing happened. I walked back to the minivan, opened the door, and sat down to wait. Then, my LIFE LESSONS in the back, started wailing and crying:
“I don’t want Mommy to go to jail!” (Insert every possible sad, deep, heart-felt emotion a 3 and 6-year-old could experience all wrapped up in that one moment).
There you have it. My parenting backfired.
For the next hour and a half, in the 105 degree heat off the side of that intersection in Yuma, AZ, missing the first game of my son’s all-star baseball tournament, I attempted to console my babes along with the help of 3 police officers, the lady I rear-ended and her 2 passengers, her husband and their teenage daughter. No amount of spearmint bubble-gum, hugs or junior police stickers comforted them. Epic fail!
I praised God no injuries occurred. Little to no damage happened. Only a few minor scrapes that could easily be buffed out. I held it together as long as I possibly could. When handed the Failure to Control vehicle citation, the floods began. The officer read me my options as tears streamed down my face but the best lesson taught of all…
Mommy’s not going to jail!
She’s going to online driving school, instead.
Ha! This was great. 🙂 Glad no one was injured, of course, but sure made for a great story.
Thanks, Renee. I am thankful no one got hurt, too. I am always learning my lesson in the strangest places. I hope this situation is the last and only.
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