Driving a school bus is difficult. Being the bus driver of your OWN kids can be mind boggling!
My children attended a private school located more than 15 miles from our home. Every day we piled into our large van and began the trek to school. Some days the drive went smoothly, other times it was as painful as pulling a tooth! One morning the boys were being especially rambunctious; back seat brawls, noise and the sound of jumping over seats filled the vehicle. My threats of punishment were being ignored. I was losing the battle.
Besides the storm brewing inside the van, there was a storm forming outside the van as well. Darkness fell as menacing clouds moved in. When a flash of lightening lit up the sky, the boys snapped to attention. Silence replaced all noise. Tension filled every open space. I knew the boys were getting nervous and that’s when I saw my chance to have a little fun.
Even though my children lived a life of daring feats and adventures, their exposure to scary things was limited. Scaring them easy.
And let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to scare unruly little kids, isn’t it?
Heavy rain poured down the windshield making visibility difficult. I slowed the van down to a crawl. In between swipes of my wiper blades, I saw my chance.
I saw the Brookfield Cemetery.
Established in the 1700s, Brookfield Cemetery is a small community burial place with many weathered headstones showing decades of existence. It was a perfect setting for a horror movie or to scare the heck out of my unruly children.
Another flash of light filled the van as I clicked on my left blinker. With fear in their voices the boys asked, “Mommy, where are you going?”
In my best evil sounding voice I cried, “The cemetery!”
As if on cue, a boom of thunder drowned out their screams of, “NO!!!”
Rain pounded the van’s roof as I drove past the gray headstones. In my most sinister voice I began, “Maybe someone is going to raise up from the dead today. What do you think? Hey! Look over there! I think I see the earth cracking open.”
Bodies dove under the seats. They begged me to drive faster. My sinister laugh intensified. I continued to drive slowly, I mean it was raining hard and I wanted to be safe. They began to scream in fear.
I had them under my thumb.
It felt wonderful. I felt powerful. I was finally in control.
It didn’t last.
It took a number of years for me to learn that any lasting, true control I gained over my children came from their respect; not gained through threats, punishments or fear. Sometimes I had to be strong while other times yielding; unbending and stringent sometimes and other times loving and compassionate. Many times I screwed up while other times I excelled.
You can read hundreds of books, how-to-magazines, watch movies and/or go to classes for helpful parenting tips; but I believe the true way to learn how to be a good mom is to be one. Good parenting is a learn-as-you-go experience. There are many successes and mistakes, joys and sorrows. Believe me, no-one but God gets this job 100% correct!
Whether you are a parent who is excelling or struggling, pray and ask God to guide you. Ask Him to give you wisdom as you travel along the road of parenthood. Celebrate your successes and acknowledge your mistakes. Rejoice in all joys and share your sorrows. Even though you may want your children to think you are a super-hero, remind them you are just a human doing super-hero things.
The fast moving storm soon ended and the sky returned to a bright blue. Normalcy reappeared; the boys returned to their rowdy selves and my directives once again reverberated in their ears.
Being my boys’ bus driver was never an easy task, but one I would do again in a heartbeat. Some days the van was filled with hysterical laughter and other times we rode along the highway of hellish behavior. Giving up was not an option, there was too much at stake. As time went on, I got better at being their mom and they got better at being well-behaved children.
And sometimes being a good parent included making a left turn into a cemetery.