Friday, August 26, 2011

Mother of the Student

If you've seen the movie, Father of the Bride, with Steve Martin playing FOTB (father of the bride), you may recall a scene where he went to the grocery store and got a little miffed about the fact that hot dogs and hot dog buns are packaged in different amounts.  I believe it got him a visit to a holding cell.

Today I was trying to finish the school supply shopping.  All I wanted was a yellow, wide ruled 1 subject notebook, in the store brand.  Think "chipper (cheaper) chicken."  Every, and I do mean every yellow one-subject notebook I found was college ruled or of the shrimp or filet mignon variety.  Then I found some multi packs of notebooks and I slit the plastic wrap open to see if there might be a yellow one hiding in the middle.  (I would have bought the whole package, don't judge me!) Alas, there was not a yellow notebook in the bunch, I ended up finding one at the grocery store. They might not carry "my" brand of peanut butter anymore, but they came through with a notebook. 

And to be clear, the notebook was not all I  wanted needed.  I have extensive and extremely specific lists for three of the four school-aged children.  The high school senior will come home with his lists the first day of school when the store shelves are picked over and the prices are high. 

As I searched the aisles of F-O-U-R different stores, trying to finish the school shopping I've been doing for three weeks, I started to identify with FOTB.  I mean, here I am needing all these folders in specific colors (Why is orange so hard to come by in "chipper chicken" brands?), multiple 2" binders in specific colors (also not available in "chipper chicken"), post-its,  motivational stickers, tennis balls, flash drives...and I felt for FOTB.  I mean really....Are orange folders and yellow-covered notebooks really going to make my children learn that much better? 

I have nothing against the teachers and I'm sure they have systems and plans and they have the best interests of the children at heart, but the color of the folders are not going to enhance their learning any more than serving filet mignon at a wedding reception is going to guarantee a happy marriage.  (Happy guests, perhaps, unless they're vegetarians...)

I was feeling very agitated and I did start to get annoyed at these specific (and can I add costly) lists.  Then I took a deep breath and realized my reaction would not change things.  I could refuse to buy the lists of stuff but then my kids would probably pay for my "statement".  I could email the teachers and tell them their lists are a hardship, but then my pride would be at stake. 

I took some deep breaths, resolved to do my best and yes, you guessed it, I prayed for peace and calm.  I prayed that my feelings of frustration and worry would not sour my attitude.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving for God's provision. 

I do not always agree with or understand why items are required.  Sometimes "chipper chicken" is perfectly acceptable.  Sometimes though, we have to suck it up and buy 8 buns and 10 hot dogs, just because that's the way things are.  In those moments when things are the way they are, peace and patience come from the Lord. 

Maybe FOTB should have prayed...maybe then he wouldn't have ended up in the holding cell. ;) 


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