Honk the Horn!
I love to honk the horn in my precious minivan.
The only flaw is that most people see my horn honking as a bad thing. Personally, I think each vehicle needs to be supplied with a friendly horn and a frustrated horn. They can have a happy face and a sad face on them.
Someone cuts you off and races around you, causing you to slam your brakes on. Frustrated horn. Honk the sad face.
Someone has a precious blue vintage beetle that makes you smile. Friendly horn. Honk the happy face.
I also think there should be a honk odometer keeping track of your weekly honks.
Friendly honks – twelve.
Frustrated honks – seven hundred thirty nine.
Time for some Jesus time, friend.
Yesterday when I was in the drive thru line at the bank, I got in the inevitable slow lane. We sat, I put the van in park and the kids and I kinda rocked out to some music. Five or six minutes later, we were still rockin’. Still in park.
During that time, at least five cars pulled up into the other two lanes, done their money business and moved on about their day.
I thought about changing lanes, but I already had my flip flops off and was sitting Indian style in my seat. I was comfy. We were in no hurry, so I waited.
Another five or six minutes go by and the kiddos start getting restless.
Then I hear, “Mama! Why is this taking so long!? How come the other lines are going faster and that car in front of us is soooo slow? Mama, honk your horn!”
I was speechless.
Did those words just come from my precious five-year-old Benjamin? Surely not my Benben.
Now, I love each of my children dearly. I celebrate their differences, praise their good qualities and pray for the negative traits they were bound to inherit from their Mama. They each have different qualities that are simply God-given, not nurtured by me…that I adore. My eldest, Jacob, is steadfast. Honest. Dependable. His trustworthiness and strong conviction of right and wrong, challenges me to be a better person. Abigail, the baby of our party of five, has spunk. She busts my chaps every single most days but I kind of love that about her. She is independent, strong-willed and strong-minded. I admire her ability to lead, to hold to her truth and to be loyal. I pray the Holy Spirit ropes that girl in, because she could do some serious damage to the enemy’s plans. Then there’s Benjamin. Our middle child. He is caring, loving, self-less and has the most tender, precious heart ever. He is my darling and faithful cuddle-bug. He feels big. If he’s sad, he’s devastated. If he’s happy, he’s elated – and usually it’s in your honor, not his own.
So, to hear those selfish, impatient words come from his mouth, of any of my kids, it stunned me.
Shock turned quickly into deep disappointment.
Not in Benjamin. He’s five.
But in the world he’s living in.
Friend, raising kids in this generation is going to be a fight. You better be putting on that armor (LINK) and training every day, cause this thing ain’t gonna be easy.
I heard somewhere that our kids, right now, are being raised in Generation E.
E stands for Entitlement.
E stands for Excess.
Can somebody say amen?
My father grew up very poor. Like, one pair of shoes to only wear to school, his Mama made his underwear from flour sacks and he didn’t have indoor plumbing ‘til junior high kind of poor. This is not my grandparents, this is my Dad. Someday when I’m able to move all the words I have in my head and my heart about this around in a way that honors him, my aunts and uncle and the memory of my grandparents, I’ll write about it.
Until then, I just go look in the playroom of our house. Not only do my kids have toys, but we have a whole room devoted to them. A whole room of our meager-sized house, just for toys. We are not wealthy. My husband is in public school education and I am a homemaker. We live by a very strict budget of cash each month that barely gets us from one thirtieth to the next.
Yet, there sits our playroom. Full.
After the shock of Benjamin’s statement wore off, I was able to find some words to say to him.
“Ya know what buddy. That lady in front of us is very important. We are not more important, more special, or better than she is. She deserves to have as much time at the bank window as we do. Jesus wants us to love other people first and biggest. Not ourselves. Other people. He wants us to serve other people and put what they want up higher than what we want. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever get to be first, or biggest or best. You bet we can! But, in our home, because we love Jesus…we won’t think we always deserve it. The moment you start thinking you deserve it, is the moment we are going to sit down and pray for our hearts to be more kind and more loving.”
Congratulations Caroline, you are such a wonderful mother. Blah, blah, blah.
This is not a “be-like-me” blog, people. I wish you could know how many times a day I blow it big time. I’m happy to tell you all of them if you want to sit down and chat with me for a few weeks hours. This is a “come-with-me-as-I-desperately-try-to-be-like-Jesus” blog. That’s all.
But, this particular moment hit me so hard, because it was such a jolt into the reality of our culture. If my precious Benjamin can want to honk the Sad face horn, then anybody can. I know I sure can.
So friend, as I write this, I just want you to stop, take a look around and see if you are actively fighting this war against Generation E, or if you are feeding the beast.
Do your kids have chores? Like real ones that aren’t fun and easy. Character building chores that they do for the simple reason that they are a part of your family, not because you’re going to pay then ten bucks.
Do they ever fail? Get picked last? Not make it on a team? Forget a homework assignment at home? Not get invited to a birthday party? Leave a store with no treat? No toy? Just a simple – NO as the answer?
I pray, for your kid’s sake, you had at least a couple Yes answers in there. Hopefully more than a couple.
C’mon Caroline, don’t get all up in my grill about this.
Sorry. Too late. The Holy Spirit got all up in my grill about it…I’m just sharing the love.
I care much more about my kid’s holiness than their happiness.
In fact, as weird as this may sound, I am glad for their unhappiness sometimes. As my man always says, “This is a character building moment…whatcha gonna do, Buddy?” I love that man.
Kids who are raised in a home that professes to be a “Christian home” should look different. They should be servants. They should be humble. They should be forgiving, and honest, and hard-working.
Because life is hard. And leading a God-honoring Christian life is ever harder. Sin feels easier sometimes. So often it’s way easier to be the bad parent. To give in to their whining. To buy the toy just to shut them up. To run their homework up to school for them so, God-forbid, they don’t face a consequence. The older my kids get, the more and more I realize that raising good kids is hard.
But, I stole a phrase from my precious friend, that has sunk down deep into my soul and changed me.
You ready for it??
“I can do hard things.”
I think my buddy Paul said something like that too.
So, honk your horn or not?
Fight against this Generation E or coast along with it?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
And we will serve our neighbor.
And we will serve a stranger.
And we will serve each other.
We. Will. Serve.
We will not honk, unless it’s the happy face honk. We’ll do that all day long…cause let’s face it, honking is fun!
Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Philippians 2:3-8 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!”