For the last few years, the kids and I have gotten up early on Thursdays (used to be Fridays) so we could study spelling words and Bible verses down at the Good Bean in Jacksonville, over milk and tea and bagels and scones. (There's actually no coffee involved, but we call it 'coffee day' nonetheless.)
We've even talked about how cool it would be if one day, when they have kids of their own, if we carried on our tradition with all of us meeting down at the Good Bean together each Thursday morning to study over milk and tea and bagels and scones.
A few months back though, I found myself frustrated because if we weren't able to make it to 'coffee' for some reason, my kids would say things like, "Well, I'm going to fail my spelling test then!" - as if somehow, the studying of spelling words and Bible verses were MY responsibility instead of theirs and that Thursday morning coffee was their God-given right.
So I set a new rule that only kids who made it THEIR responsibility to show me (by Wednesday night) that they had been practicing their spelling words and Bible verses would be able to partake in Thursday morning coffee.
It didn't go over well at first and many a Thursday came and went without 'coffee.'
More recently though, they've been coming to me on their own each Wednesday to show me that they have ineed been practicing and therefore, we've been spending more Thursday mornings at the Good Bean again, so I was able to shoot these a few weeks back...
As of bedtime last night though, Miss Yans hadn't come to show me she had been studying (and I'm not in the business of reminding kids - I'm in the business of teaching kids responsibility) so that meant she went without 'coffee'this morning and that she had to prepare her own breakfast (which turned out to be a cheese stick and a kiwi) instead.
And I know she didn't do it on purpose, and I know she gets good grades, and I know I could have opted to cut her some slack, but I didn't because:
- It would just teach her that my words mean nothing, because I don't have plans of following through with them.
- I want my kids to admit when they screw up without making excuses and without placing blame on others, and then I want them to learn to move forward, using their mistakes as experience and knowledge, and momentum.
And when she fought back tears while respectfully asking if she could use her allowance money to buy 'coffee' instead, I felt proud of her for avoiding dramatics and for trying to come up with a solution, and told her 'no' with as much love and understanding in my voice as possible.
I think of all the times I have prayed and pleaded with God for something (like my ex-husband not leaving when I was pregnant with Cole) and He said, 'no.'
And thank goodness He said 'no' because sometimes, 'no' is the most loving word we can say to someone.