“Do not speed and drive very carefully!” were the last words I said to Collins when she was in high school and was leaving for the weekend to see her boyfriend who was a freshman at UGA. I knew the exact route she would be driving and I knew the last 45 minutes of the trip would entail driving on a two-lane back road with small towns. Later I learned that one of her favorite teachers in high school had given her the same advice I had given.
I can remember looking at my watch just before my cell phone rang and thinking that I should be hearing from Collins any minute. I knew almost exactly when she should arrive. So when my phone vibrated I wasn’t surprised at all until I answered and all I could hear on the other end of the phone were sobs! After sitting down because my legs were trembling, thinking the worst, I was almost relieved to hear that she had gotten a speeding ticket instead of hearing she had been in a car accident.
My famous last words had not dented the surface to her ears or actions. Her sobs were an indication of her mistake. It was her first and only speeding ticket thus far. Sometimes natural consequences are the “BEST teachers!” Looking back, it was a very valuable lesson….in which we ended up going to court months later to appeal for a reduction in points and fine. A great learning experience for sure.
I have learned from raising three kids that when they learn from their own mistakes, it can be a great teacher. I can say for sure it has been a GREAT teacher for me personally even though it has been costly at times! I can say at 53…..now I would choose for sure, 100% of the time, to learn from wiser people…
…to save time which is so valuable and regret that is so painful.
I think of the verses found in Proverbs 15:31-32, “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.” And Proverbs 18:15, “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”
As I am still learning to “drop my hands,” especially with our young adult children, realizing that sometimes my advice is perceived as “criticism,” I pray more. I seek to “live out loud” as an example more often. I also realize that “someone else’s crisis doesn’t have to be my emergency.” This may sound cruel or harsh or cold but hear me out.
When you are older and wiser, you desire for others to learn from your own personal experience, especially your kids. What you see from maturity and they don’t see from their lack of maturity is that sometimes a “crisis” needs to happen in order for change to happen. Unless there is a spirit of teachability and a desire to gain wisdom and knowledge, the VERY BEST TEACHER is a “crisis”….tragic but true!
Just reflecting back on the lesson Collins learned from not heeding the advice, “don’t speed,” I can see how the “crisis” benefited her in the long run. It scared her. It delayed her and it cost her (time, money, and heartache). It was a great teacher. If you had asked her back then, or even now, “Do you wish you had listened?” Her answer without hesitation would be, “YES!” She learned the hard way what happens when you speed.
So, point of post? If you are a parent, teaching, instructing and training your children are all a part of one of your highest callings by God.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Don’t grow weary. Remain prayerful. Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Remember…. sometimes you have to allow your kids to fall. Proverbs 27:12, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Sometimes watching your kids pay the penalty is hard….very hard….but allow them their “crisis” and don’t let it become your emergency! Unfortunately sometimes that is the only way they will learn.