This post was written by Amy Blevins of Homeschool Encouragement
It was 10:25 on Sunday morning and we were driving to church. Since we had plenty of time, I decided to drive through McDonald’s on the way and pick up a soda for some much needed morning caffeine. For some strange reason, I decided to take a different route to McDonald’s that morning. I wish I had not.
As I pulled out into the intersection, I noticed a pedestrian crossing the street ahead of me. I waited patiently as she slowly made her way across. Patiently that is, until I noticed a truck pull onto my street and barrel towards my children and I. Here we were, half-cocked in the lane and this truck was rushing towards us.
I had to make a choice. Pull forward and stop just outside the crosswalk therefore moving my children out of harm’s way or stay where I was and take a chance that the truck would see us and not hit us. I chose the first option. I came within about three feet of where the pedestrian was crossing the street, and I am sure I scared her half to death.
Even as I finally finished my turn and continued on the path to McDonald’s, I started explaining to my children why that was a bad situation to be in and how I had to make a decision between a rock and a hard place.
What I didn’t know was that a few blocks away a policeman was watching. He was pretty quick to inform me that I made the wrong decision! Apparently, if a pedestrian is crossing the street and you are trying to turn left onto that street you are not allowed to even pull into the intersection, let alone come within three feet of the pedestrian.
At first, I was pretty upset. I mean, I kept my calm and everything. I didn’t argue with the policeman, and I didn’t talk back. But I was not happy. It was very clear from his description of what happened that he did not have a clear view of the event. My son saw the whole thing from the front seat, and was bewildered that I didn’t speak up for myself. While the man was writing up my ticket, I pointed out that we always need to respect those in authority because they have a big job to do and it wasn’t going to do me any good to argue.
On the inside though, I was just plain mad.
In general, I am a very careful driver — or so I thought. I drive the speed limit more often than not. I come to a complete stop at stop signs. I stop and wait for pedestrians to cross in front of me at the grocery store even when they try to wave me on. And I really was trying to do the right thing for my family and the pedestrian. It just wasn’t fair!
After an afternoon with this attitude, I realized that God was speaking to my heart. You see–I really was breaking the law. I was supposed to look for a pedestrian who might be crossing the street, and stay behind the light until she finished crossing. Furthermore, I was breaking the unwritten law of courtesy. Honestly, had I been the one crossing the street I would have been scared, and then furious. It was impossible for her to tell that I knew she was there and fully intended to stop before I got to her. All she knew was that a big red suburban was barreling her way! Looking back, I cannot even imagine what she must have felt.
The fact of the matter is that I did need to be more aware of my surroundings as I drove. Within 24 hours of the moment I got pulled over, I was driving more carefully and paying more attention to what was going on around me on the street. On Monday afternoon, as I drove down the same street, I was being so careful to look around that I actually saw when an old man stepped out in front of me without looking. I was able to stop. At that moment, I was so thankful for that police officer!
Now I knew for sure that I had a lesson to learn and keep learning.
Do you know what my sweet children remembered though? They remembered that I was angry about getting a ticket. They didn’t hear my internal conversations with God on the subject. They didn’t notice that I was driving more carefully. They didn’t read my thoughts about needing to learn.
And imprinted in their minds was a picture of Mom getting pulled over and then fussing all the way to church once it was over.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve had to eat some serious crow. I had to go to my children and humbly talk to them about how God was teaching me to be a better driver. In fact, as I mulled over the situation and how to talk to my kids about what I was learning, I realized that some of my children exhibit the same exact behavior when I try to teach them a character trait or value, or a new subject.
They do not always have teachable spirits. I used to wonder where they got that attitude.
I could have kept all this to myself, but I want my children to know that I keep my heart softened towards God and allow His Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit to teach me. I want them to know that I am teachable. I want to model a teachable spirit.
What is God teaching you?
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