Monday, January 08, 2007

Testing...

The moment has arrived. The milestone for parent and child, the embarkation toward new horizons, new freedoms and responsibilities, and the angst-filled moment for all concerned.

My son Isaac and I are at the DMV.


He is applying for his learner’s permit, and I am tapping at this laptop attempting to distract myself from my parental jitters. The iPod is whispering classical music into my ears.

He and I have had numerous conversations leading to this moment. The whole range of what freedom and responsibility means, what is expected of new driver, the costs involved in driving.

Last night’s conversation was especially telling. I spoke to him about the responsibilities of being a parent.

I told him that it is a tough time for a parent. Part of it went something like this:

“it isn’t easy being a parent. It’s the most difficult thing I have ever done. Probably the trickiest thing I ever will do.

“My job is to take someone who is completely dependent on me and train them in all they need to know to be self-sufficient. My job is to maker myself, step by step, no longer needed.

"I have to give you freedoms and teach you how to be responsible for them.

“And this is a big one. You will be in control of a vehicle that is worth a lot of money, is capable of hurting, even killing other people, and use it as a tool to get you around in the world.

“My job is to make sure that when you leave my home you will know all you need to know. And frankly, buddy, this scares me.

“The reason they charge more for insurance for teenagers is because they don’t concentrate so well and they don’t have the habits to be safe. They are rolling around town in something that weighs a couple of tons, listening to music, talking with their friends, thinking about the fun places they are going and WHAM! They don’t see the car coming out of the driveway, or the bicyclist, or the kid on a skateboard.”

Isaac looked up at me from his pillow.

“I love you, Isaac. It’s my job to do this, to teach this to you, but it isn’t something that I am pushing on you. This is why I haven’t helped you get the paperwork together to do this. I figured that when it was important enough for you to drive you would get it all together and come to me.”

So here I am, sitting in this crowded place while he stares at that screen and ponders the questions.



I hope he passes... and I suppose a part of me hopes he doesn’t, so I can postpone the inevitable.


Ah... here he comes...

Well he didn’t pass. He is disappointed. He has gone to get the suggestions sheet which will tell him which pages of the manual he should study more closely.

So that’s it for this week.

I keep thinking about that conversation last night... the one where I share with him the issues of responsibilities. I talked to him about the responsibilities of learning to drive, but I also spoke about the responsibilities of being a parent.

There is a fascinating part of the Book of Job where God shares with Job the responsibilities of being God (chapters 40 & 41).

Isn’t that amazing?! God does not tell all, but He unloads just a little bit on His servant, enough to wake him up and remind him of who he is dealing with.

There is another hint of that sort of conversation when God approaches Adam and Eve after their sin:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day...” Genesis 3-8.

It is clear that God had a casual relationship with people... that He spoke with them informally, in their land, their home.

Jesus did likewise of course... talking with people casually and everywhere, in streets, in homes, at wells, around meals, anywhere.

That is the sort of relationship we are supposed to have.

I’m reminded of the song by John Denver:

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply...

The way I have parented my children is to be firm, honest, and completely open. It is healthy to have such conversations. For them to understand where I am at when I have them do certain tasks, learn certain lessons.

I think that is also the way the Lord works with us. The problem is that for most of the time He is trying to talk to us we have our fingers in our ears and are loudly chanting: “Na na na na na na na na na!!!”

Isaac may have failed this test this time, but there will be more, just as I fail most of the lessons my Lord gives me.

But just as I did on the drive home, discussing the strategies of studying and test taking, the Lord is always trying to talk to me.

Sometimes He is very clear (like the last two words in this post)... other times it is a little harder to hear...

But I don’t believe He ever stops speaking altogether. I believe in the quiet of God, but not the silence of God.

He is the perfect Father.

Me? I’m just doing the best I can.

20 comments:

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant...Here I am, having to go to work for 24 hours and this interesting post of your comes in. I will get Bernie to print it out for me as I get ready for work and then I can READ it at work...
I will get him to print the one before this too and then I can meditate on them both...Have a good day, you and Brenda and your son...From Terry

Anonymous said...

You sound like you have a wealth of patience. A gift from God.

jel said...

it took my Grandma 17 times to pass hers, and I had to take it over an few times before I passed,
Thought I was so cool, but now I don't like to drive, so don't give up Isaac, you will do it! :)

and CS, from what I see you are a good dad!
blessings

Ame said...

what an awesome dad you are ...

yes, i try to talk plainly to my kids, too ... oldest and i read the story of Tamar and discussed it at length last night - a lot of information for a nine year old in that story ... but i spoke plain ... and she accepted the truth.

MugwumpMom said...

Seems to me your doing a pretty good job doing the best you can. That's all you can do...and I have a feeling that God fills in the blanks and has our backs on the parts that we don't so well in. He is faithful even when we are not because He cannot help Himself.
Hopefully your son will pass next time. My 17 year old has his learners but so far has shown no interest in actually driving...that's fine with me!

Anonymous said...

im 49 years old and i too have children all grown now but nuntheless still learning just as all of us are and i must say those are some of the most well put statements you told your son that i think i have ever heard bravo to you sir!!!!!!!!
steve2d3dcad@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you, my friend. It's good to be back.

Yes, you are mostly correct about the family upset.

The ball was more of a compassion issue rather than stress. It was my kids' favorite. They had it for years and associated it with their Grandfather. You know as well (if not better) as anyone, we as parents hate to see our children saddened by loss. Any loss.

Your talks with Isaac are wonderful and insightful. Thanks for sharing.

I also loved the previous post. The end result of the painting is quite wonderful. Such talent!

J.

P.S. I hope you both have a happier experience on your next DMV adventure:-)

squirrel said...

Parenting is scary sometimes isn't it? This is a big step, heck my older kids are 20 and 23 and I'm still scared when I think about them out there driving around at night!

Jada's Gigi said...

Lord help us! Parenting is indeed the hardest job in the world as my young daughter is finding out with her 3 yr old. but letting them go out into the big wrold...that is the hardest part...I guess we are all just doing the best we can...I do appreciate it when He is very clear....then again maybe if I get into the quiet a bit more...

ukok said...

I too,always try to be open and honest with my children. There's little benefit in hiding the ills of the world from them, not that we have to be gratuitous in our informing them about the evils of the world, but our children should always be aware of the dangers that may present themselves to them or that they may find themselves in.

Commiserations to your son.

Noel Lewis said...

Ahh, someone I can take parenthood notes from... You rock!

wanting more said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog, probably a link from someone else's...but I've really enjoyed your "tale," and I can relate in so many ways to your journey with Christ.

Terry said...

Dear Curious Stranger...I thank God for you!!...from Terry

Jim said...

When our Karen got her adult driver license everybody was happy for a few hours.
Then all of a sudden her car was gone and so was Karen.
We forgot to tell her that just because she had a license that didn't mean she could just jump in the car and go someplace.
The bicycle was different, she would remain in the neighborhood.
..

Lucy Stern said...

It is tough when our kids start driving...you are loosening a little more of the "apron strings". With our kids, we had them take the drivers ed class at school and take the test before we ever got in the car with them. Once they started driving (with us in the car), we had them drive until we were pretty sure that they knew what they were doing, before they got their "real" license.

TF purchased and old car for $2,000.00 that the kids were "allowed" to drive. We put only libality insurance on the car and they were told that if they wrecked the car, and it was their fault, that they would no longer have a vechile that they could drive....All three of our kids knew that we meant business and they were very careful drivers. That car made it thru three kids before someone hit William from behind and the car wasn't worth enough to be fixed. We collected a small amount of insurance money from the other drivers insurance company. AT that time TF had bought a new truck and his old truck become the "kids" car then. It worked well for us...Keep advising Issac and hope he listens. Good luck!

Lorna said...

doing your best is all God requires of you (and all of us)

me? I'm glad the driving age in Finland is 18. That comes for TS in 1.5 years - and I doubt we'll be ready then.

He's done the psycology of driving already - and in one year can sit the theory test - but will have to wait until he turns 18 to drive legally even if he passes the practical driving exam after he turns 17.5

In Finland they have to do a driving in the winter (dark) test too - after they've got their license proper!

Lorna said...

somehow your comment got caught up in spam over in stf. eija says the same is happening to MY comments at into the bible. Maybe wordpress is having a bad haircut day.

You left a comment about being already in Friday over at the site - but here we are several hours ahead of you (if you are in the USA) which confused me no end.

I know I'd been having troubles working out what day of the week is was over Christmastide - but now I'm at the seminary I'm fairly sure today is Friday and it's only 9:30 am here.
(Grin - I could be wrong!!)

Anyway I posted my first thoughts on Ps 1 and Isa 1. May God continue to open His word to you :) and bless you!

Anonymous said...

You're doing the best you can, but you are, indeed, doing well as a father. THANK YOU for being the example of a father whose heart is set after God. Blessings to you, and to your son, whose time will come. This post reminded me of how jittery I felt the day each of my three came home with their brand new driving license. Kinda scary for a parent--to release them into the world like that, not knowing where the road will take them. But we pray, don't we? And we rely on God for all these things. Being a mother has opened my eyes more to the will of God for my own life. He teaches us so much through our children.

I always get a huge blessing when I come here. The Lord bless you.

~V.

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,
You seems to be a most considerate, warm and caring father. Though to admit,- because of society malfunctions, it's never enough and the work is never finished.
In Norway the laws are working against the children (and the parents all the time). A girl can have sex, free p-pills and even be a mother at the age of sixteen. She's allowed to buy tobacco, learn how to kill in the army, drive a car and vote when she's eighteen. At twentyone she can legally buy liquor.
It's so sad, really..
Our daughter had been driving with her father for a year and a half before she got her driver's license December -06.
I am not entirely happy for her, but I cannot ruin her pride in managing the test, where 64% fail the first time. So we go out shopping with me as the merry passenger.
We need a lot of hardworking, careing angles though.

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,
You seems to be a most considerate, warm and caring father. Though to admit,- because of society malfunctions, it's never enough and the work is never finished.
In Norway the laws are working against the children (and the parents all the time). A girl can have sex, free p-pills and even be a mother at the age of sixteen. She's allowed to buy tobacco, learn how to kill in the army, drive a car and vote when she's eighteen. At twentyone she can legally buy liquor.
It's so sad, really..
Our daughter had been driving with her father for a year and a half before she got her driver's license December -06.
I am not entirely happy for her, but I cannot ruin her pride in managing the test, where 64% fail the first time. So we go out shopping with me as the merry passenger.
We need a lot of hardworking, careing angles though.