Spirit of the Law

Is it possible to teach our children too well? To instill something in them so deeply that it comes back to haunt us later?

I’d say absolutely, yes.

On a recent Saturday, we were headed to a friend’s house to watch football, and we were running about 15 minutes late. It doesn’t happen to us often, because we don’t like to be late to things. But on this day, my recipe took a little longer than I thought, and we were behind schedule.  

So the car-trip over was a special kind of torture as each of our three kids lamented that we were late. Even though 15 minutes in football basically means you missed two sets of downs and one batch of commercials. And despite the fact that we were STILL the first ones to arrive.

Didn’t matter. We were late.

Then we went to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, and spent the day prior walking through the French Quarter. As we stood in Jackson Square watching my youngest daughter throw pennies into a fountain, one of my older kids whisper-yelled in my ear, “They are trying to take a picture. We need to move.”

What? Really? We have to stop what we’re doing because someone else wants to take a picture? Obviously I believe in courtesy. I agree that if someone else is taking a picture, we want to be careful not to walk in front of their camera. But if we were there first, we have to move because they need a picture?

I’m totally not kidding.

My youngest daughter is so adamant about the “Don’t text and drive” campaign that she loses her mind if I even touch my phone while I’m behind the wheel. Even if the car is stopped. At a red light. All she knows is that we aren’t supposed to use our phones while we’re operating a vehicle. Whether the car is moving or not is irrelevant in her six-year-old mind.

We don’t often use bad grammar, exceed the speed limit or marinate our dinner in wine (they are underage, after all). The price is just too high.

Maybe it’s because we’re too black-and-white. We have no room for grey. Maybe we should focus on the “spirit of the law” rather than the “letter of the law.”

Maybe this is really nothing to complain about at all. ♥

11 thoughts on “Spirit of the Law

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  1. Very interesting. At least you know they’re listening to you – that’s got to be reassuring. Don’t you think they’ll “mellow” about things as they get older? I know I have…not totally, of course…still wrapped wicked tight about some things. My two cents: I’d rather see young people who are overly polite and/or hyper about punctuality than not. Bottom line: you’re raising three of the finest human beings I’ve ever met. Love & miss you, girl.

    1. It’s hard for me to be mad at them, Reen. After all, nothing sends me over the edge quicker than a 25-item basket in a “20 Items or Less” line. And you’re right about the overly polite and punctual thing. But we arrived at church at 10:02 this morning (2 minutes late) and one of our children referred to us as being “epically late”…. think it’s possible that we’re missing a tiny bit of perspective? 🙂
      Miss you gobs….

  2. I would rather see parents raising their children with “black and gray” values and allowing the “gray areas” to slip in as they get older, than to see the children that are being raised today with no values and no sense of direction. You and Eric are doing a terrific job of raising your three, I like that they hold you accountable to those values and that you respond. I have been in cars where the driver is texting while driving with the kids in the car and when the error is pointed out, they ignore it and keep texting. So much for role model. Keep up the good work.

  3. Ok ok ok…coming from your long time childhood friend who is and was always the late one let me first apologize for ever making you late, and I know I did! Secondly, chill! It’s ok to not always be so regiment stop and really smell the roses, as long as you aren’t running late! 🙂 I tend to be opposite from you and take things in the opposite manner as being too laid back and I know I don’t get as much accopmplished in a day as you. And I admire you so for that! So, I’m thinking that we can help each other out you cheer me on to keep going and not allow me to get too distracted by the entire rose bush and I’ll cheer you on to stop and take a pic of the rose! I LOVe ya!!! LYLAS!!!!

    1. Girl, you’re giving me way more credit than I deserve. I think somewhere in the midst of all this is a happy medium that I should be seeking… What can I say? I’m a work in progress… 🙂

  4. I am glad to know that my children ate not the only ones to need a little perspective. I a, also glad that they help me gain perspective at times. Thanks for sharing, keep it flowing as your style is wonderfully calming and makes me smile.

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