I didn’t grow up in the mom-fixes-everything generation. You know? The one where Mom makes a full-time job of fighting every battle for her kids.
Maybe it was unique to my family, but I knew from an early age that, barring physical, emotional, or spiritual harm, Mom would take sides with my teachers (even if the teacher were rumored to brew eye of newt and toe of frog in a cauldron in his back yard). Furthermore, I was wise not to begin my sentences with, “It’s not fair,” and I knew my mom wouldn’t chase after my friends to settle disputes or patch wounded feelings.
Instructions to, “Work it out” were as common as, “Brush your teeth.” And save for the random week of camp, both were generally obeyed.
I hated it. Really, what’s the point of having parents if they don’t help a girl out?
I once discovered a note from my mom to a teacher. (It was in the trash can, but don’t be distracted by that detail. Why I was digging in the trash can is irrelevant to this conversation.) I was thrilled because the note was taking sides with me against the teacher! Nevermind it was in the trash and never saw the light of day, someone should have bought me a frame.
Fast-forward 25 years.
Now I am a mom and I am learning how hard it is not to fight my kids’ battles. What I thought was my mother’s unblushing disinterest in the theatrics of my life was really a mom preparing me for reality. If I wanted my mom to fight my battles then, I really, really want to fight my son’s battles now.
Twice this week I have come face to face with the reality that lurking in my heart is the Mike Tyson of all mothers. Last week I was ready to throw down the gauntlet and I’m not even sure what that means exactly.
I’ve watched peers fight for the irrelevant details of their kids’ lives (who sits where or who does what or who gets what part in what play). I know I could put up a good fight. I didn’t play water polo for nothing. But here’s the truth I have come to believe. If I fight my son’s battles now, he won’t be prepared for life later. Teaching him that I am the great fixer is teaching him that God is not. By teaching him that I will remove every stone from his path, I am giving him false security about the road he may be called to walk without me.
I would be wise to teach him how to respond to the challenges of life. Certainly if danger is involved, I am ready to drop the gloves, but as it pertains to the lessons of life, my advice to him is this–
Work it out.