I almost said it. Almost.
Yep, that infamous sentence that we all heard as kids growing up, when we didn’t like our parent’s decision on a particular matter. Remember it?
“When you get older and live on your own, you can do what you want to do. BUT, as long as you live under our roof, you are to listen to our rules!”
It all came down when I discovered that a particular child exploded a bomb in his room, sending a mixture of clean and dirty clothes across the floor, scattering toys everywhere, leaving drawers half open with items hanging out, numerous books falling off of shelves and...well...you get the picture... It was a mess with a capital “M”.
Like any irritable mother who wants to keep her home tidy and presentable, I began ranting on what a pig stye his room had become. Amidst my many, many, descriptive words to get my passionate point across, I was careful to throw in a few biblical terms like stewardship and order vs. chaos. I admit that I was not erring on the side of graciousness and kindness. This was a pattern and I had “had it.”
My child listened and didn’t even disagree with the assessment. There was no arguing that the room was a mess, but the question of whether or not our standards were too high, was raised. This child didn’t question me in a disrespectful manner at all. It was a simple statement that indicated that perhaps our expectation of what “clean” looks like is a bit unreasonable.
I listened. I paused. And that’s when the sentence almost came out of my mouth.
Even as I swallowed back the almost words, two things came to mind:
1- This is such a tempting statement to make to your children.
2- At the heart of it, the statement is not a good one to ever make.
What parent hasn’t felt at one point or another that they are at the end of their rope? Nothing has gone as expected all day long, there is one setback after another, and just when your day seems to be taking an unexpected pleasant turn, you discover a pig stye around the corner. That’s all it took for me.
I began thinking through the statement, “When you get older and live on your own, you can do what you want to do. BUT, as long as you live under our roof, you are to listen to our rules.”
At first glance it can seem like a true and even reasonable statement. Unfortunately, I have yet to ever hear this statement made apart from an irritated, exasperated, or angry tone. But setting the tone aside, I sought to unpack these words to see what actually lived within them.
In the next day or two, I will share what I came up with personally.