I don't care if I did over step my bounds. It needed to happen. SOMEbody needed to do SOMEthing!
At the beginning of the summer I told Son #1 and Son #2 that there were 3 things that were expected of them this summer...
#1 - They would get jobs.
#2 - They would find a way to volunteer their time.
#3 - They would make sure that they were committed to a physical activity - off season wrestling mat club or weightlifting at school.
I explained that it was important that they be constructive with their time this summer. That they proved themselves to be responsible.
See here's the deal.
Summertime used to be filled with wonderful family activities like swimming, sailing, badminton, bowling etc.
But then I sprouted teenagers.
Teenagers don't care about doing those things.
They watch television.
They complain of boredom.
They ask for money.
Summertime is no longer a carefree time.
It becomes a battle of the wills.
I waited patiently for them to show some initiative and do the things asked of them.
It has been a long 3 weeks.
Very few attempts to get a job were made.
I could go on and on with the stories and the complaints but what is the point?
All you really need to know is this -
I woke up this morning and drove to Washington D.C. and back to find my teenagers laying on the couch under blankets watching shows like Jackass on MTV.
Then they wanted permission to go away with a friend this weekend...
I felt it.
I tried to breathe deeply.
But I could not reverse tracks.
The entire top of my head blew sky high.
When I tried to have a discussion about their failure to get a job, volunteer activities or a physical fitness commitment after 3 weeks - I was hit with all of the excuses.
Their voices increased in volume.
I realized that this summer was going to be difficult.
I had to get them out of the house to engage in society as productive human beings.
If I didn't - I was concerned that I would end up in jail, a psychiatric institute or rehab.
So, I picked up my purse and drove to the nearest shopping center.
I walked into 3 business establishments seeking employment for my teenage sons.
After entering business number three - we had a winner!
The business owner had just opened last week and told me that he needed help and encouraged me to ask my boys to come in to meet him.
I thanked him profusely.
I promptly drove home and told my boys to get showered and get over there to shake hands and make a good impression.
Soon my sons would call me to tell me that they would be starting next week - working 2-3 days four hours each day.
I told them that they should continue looking for other opportunities while they were out and showered.
They returned 2 hours later to inform me that they had gone to one more establishment to inquire about employment.
An ice cream parlor.
They were not hiring.
So they celebrated the job that I got them by eating ice cream sundaes.
They didn't even bring me any.
When I told my husband the entire story he said,
"Congratulations on your new job, Hun."
He was disappointed that I had gone out rather than letting them do this on their own.
But I had already assessed the situation.
They were NEVER going to get jobs.
I was going to be the one to deal with their teenage flippant attitudes day in and day out.
Someone had to stop the madness.
So go ahead - tell me I did the wrong thing. I can take it.
What I can't take?
Lazy, mouthy teenagers laying around the house all day.
After I had secured employment for my sons, I sat down to read on my patio on my new plush chaise lounge cushion.
What am I reading?
Well a friend gave me a wonderful book for my birthday -
-- way back in December.
It is called "Building Men Who Matter - On the Marvel and Mystery of Raising Teenage Boys".
It is fabulous.
As I was reading the beginning, the author made a reference to the following song -
"Where is that boy with the bugle?
My little love was always my big romance;
Where's that boy with the bugle?
And why did I ever buy him those damn long pants?
Did he need a stronger hand?
Did he need a lighter touch?
Was I soft or was I tough?
Did I give enough?
Did I give too much?
At the moment when he needed me,
Did I ever turn away?
Would I be there when he called,
If he walked into my life today.
Were his days a little dull?
Were his nights a little wild?
Did I overstate my plan?
Did I stress the man?
And forget the child.
And there must have been a million things.
That my heart forgot to say.
Would I think of one or two,
If he walked into my life today.
Should I blame the times I pampered him,
Or blame the times I bossed him;
What a shame!
I never really found the boy,
Before I lost him.
Were the years a little fast?
Was his world a little free?
Was there too much of a crowd?
All too lush and loud and not enough for me.
Though I'll ask myself my whole life long,
What went wrong along the way;
Would I make the same mistakes
If he walked into my life today?
If that boy with the bugle,
If he walked into my life today."
~ "If He Walked Into My Life Today" From 'Mame'
Because you see as parents we never know if what we are doing is right or wrong.
If it will work or backfire.
I often say that I expect one day my children will have me on Dr. Phil telling the story of how I screwed their lives up terribly and never want to forgive me for the mistakes I made.
Well here we are again - perhaps I should have let them find their own jobs.
Perhaps I should have let them sit on their keesters for the entire summer and been complete losers in life.
Perhaps this will all work out beautifully and I managed to teach them the importance of integrity and commitment.
Perhaps they will be fired their first week.
I don't really know.
What I do know?
I was able to enjoy some peace and quiet this afternoon.
I realized how entirely appropriate that song was for this particular parenting moment in my life and how beautifully God had orchestrated this day.
We shall see how it all plays out...