This is on my dining table. I keep moving it for meals and then putting it back to deal with it.
I thought I would write a few thoughts about our parenting journey lately,
because I know lots of folks who read this have children younger than us,
maybe it might help someone sometime.
Before I was parenting our own teenagers, I had lots of thoughts about how it should be done,
I firmly believed that the child should suffer all the consequences of their own actions
and not be rescued in any way shape or form.
And although I still believe actions have consequences,
I realise that grace and mercy are also useful in shaping the teenagers path.
Before Christmas James left home to follow his own path,
but would you believe it, the wheels fell off in every way possible (he freely admits this)
it was the hardest thing I've ever done to let him go to a situation I didn't believe was safe,
the flat was basically a mother's worst nightmare. I shed a lot of tears over the holidays.
When we came home from holiday the boys had been living in James' car
but things have taken a turn for the better and we worked together to get him and his friend living here with some rules we can all live with. So far it's going quite well.
So back to the fine. I could be hard nosed and refuse to pay it and let the courts take action.
But somehow I think he's had a lot of hard hard lessons for a 17 year old,
and we don't feel that mounting and remorseless debt from the Police
are going to make a big difference to the decisions he needs to make now.
I've definitely changed my mind about hard-nosed parenting,
I still believe you should be consistent but the teenager is not a fully grown adult yet
and sometimes you need to make decisions that reflect that.
The most important thing is that the teenager knows they are loved
and that you keep communicating with each other.
Sometimes this feels like an impossible task,
sometimes it's the last thing you feel like doing,
but as the adult you must be the bigger person.
Like this quilt I've been making,
we have been using all the pieces we have, even the ugly ones,
working together to build a picture of our family that will last into the future.
You can do a lot of praying while you sew 2088 little squares together,
and I'm sure I have a lot more praying to do,
but for now, James is looking for a new job
and our family has grown (Charles lives with us now) and taken a new shape
and peace has been restored for the time being.
The story is not finished yet!