Friday, September 7, 2012
The overflowing joy that tumbled towards me as he described the events of his day had suddenly vanished. There would be no more showing the twins and me his drawing of a dolphin using echo location (!?), the "one bunny" worksheet, or the Magic Tree House research book he's reading on the Titanic.
All that mattered was mommy interrupting his running narrative to say, "I'm sorry, but you can't go to that party."
Knowing how tired Wyatt is after school, I knew tears were the next step along with a good bit of pointless begging and pleading.
I had been meaning to have the conversation with him, honestly, I had. But with last week's hurricane and this week's chaos with the restart of my teaching load, there was always something first.
Then, today, his teacher innocently mentioned the raffle tickets students were selling at the school's fund raiser and how they would be able to attend the "party the mommies are planning for us" if they sold and returned their $50 booklet.
To Wyatt and any other young child, the words were enticing. A party! Besides, what was gambling anyway? That's not a term we had ever used in our household before, not one of the ten commandments or the fruit of the spirit husband and I have sought to print on our children's hearts.
I sighed and had to raise my voice to get him to sit down and really listen to me. He huffed down the wall like melted jello, then stuffed his pink cheek on his fist and scowled over at me with those hurt eyes.
I explained that there were some things those of us who love God just can't do because we believe the Bible tells us "no." I explained that gambling was breaking God's law and that disobeying God made Him sad. Then, I gave the example of the meeting the mothers had earlier that week--on Wednesday morning, which conflicted with my Bible study time. I really wanted to go. But how would God have felt if I would have broken my commitment to Him, skipped Bible Study to go to that meeting?
Wyatt grudgingly gave me the correct answer, but his eyebrows lifted a bit, seemingly surprised to discover that mommy had to make choices she didn't like, too, because she wanted to please Jesus more than she wanted to please others.
What is and isn't gambling--it's a personal faith conviction, one I understand that not all Christians share. And that's ok with me. While I personally have no problem with fundraising raffles for items as prizes, when it's a raffle for a monetary prize, that's where husband and I draw the line. In this situation, I felt like buying a raffle ticket was no different from sticking a coin in a slot machine and pulling the handle.
My son had been in school literally three days before my faith was put to this test. This week, it was tested again with the schedule conflict.
When husband and I were praying so diligently about whether to home school Wyatt or put him public school, we kept coming back to this point, of being a light in a dark world.
I just had no idea being a light would come this soon, that it would be this difficult to say 'no' to that pitiful face and to be ok with the disapproval I know other mothers will feel at my decision. But it's good--husband and I are given the chance already to show our children there are choices to please or to displease God, sometimes even hard ones.
In the end, I told Wyatt there was no reason he couldn't come home that day and have his own party without breaking God's laws. I could see the wheels turning. His face brightened and the bounce came back as he began to rattle off plans for mommy to write down of hot dogs, marshmallows, a Leapfrog film, games, and popcorn....
Obeying God is important. But that didn't mean he couldn't have any fun.
at 4:08 PM