His Grace Reaches Me

Last (school) year when Riley was in 2nd grade, he began having homework on a regular basis. It was fairly quick and painless, and the point was simply to get in the habit of doing homework. Only since Riley's crummy mom was drowning in a new job, Riley began to get in the habit of doing his homework standing at the breakfast table with his backpack on his back at 7:54 a.m. as we were all trying to get out the door for school/work. For a few weeks, I simply told him that he really needed to be doing that when we first got home, blah,-blah-Charlie-Brown-teacher-speak.

So, I reverted to speaking Riley's language: "Riley, if you don't do your homework in the afternoon, you'll be grounded from TV for 2 days. If you forget again, you'll be grounded from TV for a WEEK." Truthfully, I don't remember now if there was a 2-strike opportunity, but I do know, since I don't make idle threats, that at some point there would probably be a TV-less Riley moping about the house for a week. And there was. It was a long, yet effective week. Riley did great about remembering his homework after that!

Even after Christmas break, he did really well about coming straight home and getting his homework done!! Until... (Riley has a drama effect "dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnn" that would be appropriate here) One afternoon I had to pick the kids up from school and promptly take them to Troy's office so that I could go to a meeting (or something long since forgotten). I got home later and started the dinner-making, heading-to-bed shuffle that is standard for school nights.

The next morning we were doing the gathering-the-backpacks/lunches, heading-to-school shuffle that is standard for school mornings, when I noticed Riley a little more purposeful than usual gathering his things. He headed out to the car, then returned, got a pencil, then said, "I'll be in the car." I knew. Because I'm a mom with not only those eyeballs in the back of my head but that pesky ESP that cuts through the fluff with the kids, I knew. I knew he was headed to do his homework in the car. But I made the parental decision to look the other way and act like I didn't. Partly because I didn't want to deal with it and partly because I felt bad that our crazy schedule/ life had messed up Riley's homework routine.

So I finally piled into the car and both of the kids were already in the car (I have since figured out that I'm sure Ashley caught Riley and threatened to tell, but my ESP is fuzzy on that point). I backed the car out of the driveway trying to make faux lighthearted talk, but the tension was tangible in the backseat. Ashley encourages/admonishes: "Riley, you'll feel better if you just tell." (Mom is thinking, "Please don't tell, please don't tell, I don't want to mess with it!") Finally Riley spoke up: "Mom?" (bottom lip quivering uncontrollably)
Mom: "Yes, sweetie?"
Riley: (lip still quivering) "I forgot to do my homework yesterday and (sniff) I was doing it this morning in the car."
Mom: (feigning ignorance so as not to divulge my ESP powers) "Well, hmmmm. You know what's supposed to happen, right?"
Riley: (crying for real) "Yessss (sob, sob)"
Mom: "Well, do you know what grace is?
Riley: "No."
Mom: "Grace is forgiveness we don't deserve. God extends grace to me every day because He loves me so much. For this occurrence, I am going to give you grace -- forgiveness." (There was some banter in there about what exactly that meant and, more importantly, would Riley be able to watch TV that afternoon). "But Riley?"
Riley: "Yes?"
Mom: "God's grace is without limits. Mine is NOT."

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Riley, my love, may you abound in every good work, have all that you need, and know God's abundant grace.


Roxanne said...

Good momma.

Good writer.

Bless his heart. And bless yours.

dad said...

You have just preached a great sermon in a few words.

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