60: The Beginning of Wisdom

Fear is a great motivator.  Sometimes it drives you to do the right thing, and other times, it may lead you to do the easy thing. In parenting M, a combination of both became our weekly routine.

The Right Thing…
     The weekend before his birthday he snuck out of the house and headed to a party a few miles away. (I’m not exactly sure of the transportation details, but it probably involved either a scooter, a skateboard, a bicycle, or a little ATV.)  The morning after said violation, we began to put the pieces together.  By lunchtime, an email furnished us with more clues. And by dinnertime, we had completed the big, disturbing puzzle.
     We grounded him for one week, and this turned out to be significant because it meant that he was now grounded for his 16th birthday.  And what a relief that was since he had been announcing all month that he was “probably” going to get drunk on his birthday because that’s what “usually” happens on birthdays….WHAT?!? I don’t know what was more difficult for my brain to process…the fact that he was talking about drinking like it was legal for 16 year old kids or the fact that he actually had no problem telling me of his plans.  Do some kids just not fear getting in trouble or doing illegal things anymore?
     He spent his 16th birthday with his family, we ate at the hibachi-style restaurant down the road, and then he spent the night at his grandparents’ house.

The Easy Road…
But then there are plenty examples of days that I threw in the towel and threw up my hands.  Often he’d call to “check-in” upon arriving at his “friend’s” house, and many of those nights I should have hopped in my minivan to snag him.  But, I think I was afraid of what I’d find.
     Or how about all the times he said he didn’t have any homework,  and I would utter, “Oh…okay,” Then I’d mumble to myself,  “If I fight him on this one, we’ll be up all night.”

     And then there were the times he left the house with a mini-backpack in tow.  For months I wondered…“What does he have in there? If I check, he’ll think I don’t trust him.  But if I don’t check, I’m being a bad parent.”  So often the Easy Road looked more appealing…and so he’d flee with the mystery bag strapped to his back. But then this quote popped up on my radar:

 “To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
~ Bertrand Russell

 I started looking in the mystery bag – a month later he was at the military academy.

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3 thoughts on “60: The Beginning of Wisdom

  1. I love youe blog, it makes me wonder if I should have done things differently with my boys, at the time I was sick and figured as long as no one was arrested and their sisters would tell me if they were really off track, we would make it through…. I did have a phone call from the oldest saying she found the youngest smoking something strange in the backyard, I left work, picked him up and took him for a drug test, which he failed. I told him there would be random testing from no on and if found positive he could no longer live in the family house. fortunately he never tested positive again….no he has a Sgt. to keep him in line. I did look into Military school and couldn't find one that we could fund or would take him as his grades were so poor, but his knowing that I was actually looking into it shook him up and he did ok until he left for bootcamp last Jan. I will pray for you as I know next week will be a challenge. You are an inspriration and a damn fine writer too. I hope you can enjoy your holidays.
    L

  2. “Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.”

    You love him too much to take the easy road anymore.

    “Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”

    Your love for M is your strength.

  3. I am a mother of 3 boys, my second son was just like M…times 10, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he just packs up and leaves one day and you never see him again. I tried the whole “being the good mother” thing and now I haven't seen or heard from my little J in over 6 years. Trust me Momma, you don't want to end up like me. Give your son some cooling down time from military camp to do what he needs to do or you will end up in my aweful situation.

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