Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grace in extenuating circumstances

Okay so one day last week I had a rather irate mom come in to the store with her son for one of his classes. The class that they were arriving for, however, was not meeting that day. The teacher was away on a vacation that had been on the calendar since BEFORE class began and all of the parents had been made aware of this point since the beginning of the school year. To calm the ruffled feathers, I joke about how others had forgetten about the date as well and apologized that she had to make the drive. This, however, was not sufficient.

"This is the third time this has happened!" she snapped. I was thoroughly confused because I know that she has not shown up for no reason any other time. Then I realize that she is referring to the fact that there is no class. Okay, fine, legitimate complaint except, not really. You see this particular absence was for a long-since planned vacation. Everyone was made aware of it so you cannot complain about it. The last missed class was because of a snow day and everyone in the COUNTY (public, private and most home schools) canceled classes. Not my problem. If you have weather issues, take it up with God or with the Department of Transportation who cannot guarantee clear roads for you to drive on in the snow. The third missed class was because the teacher had a sick child.

For those of you working moms you know the scenario. You have to work, but your child is ill. It is near impossible to get a babysitter - particularly when your nearest relative lives several hundred miles away. No one who is not related to you WILLINGLY will watch your child. Again, particularly if said child is vomiting. It would be cruel to ask it of anyone and really rather heartless for the child who - when sick - would much rather have mom near by and be at home. So who do you blame for the missed day? Do you really get angry for the woman who is just trying to be a good mom or do you, as the student's parent feel rage that your child is missing a class? A class that, in all likelihood, will be made up. Do you show grace or go with a fight?

Scenario number two - a teacher repeatedly asks for a favor. "Can you print these out for me?" "Can you call my students for me?" While the favors themselves aren't a problem, it is the fact that the teacher is constantly unprepared. Every week. Sure, the first time you do the favor because they are running late, it happens. But week after week I should not be responsible for these secretarial duties since the only reason she needs it done is that she is running late! There are no extenuating circumstances, I extended grace in the beginning but now I feel taken advantage of. For crying out loud, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and get it together. I get to work on time, millions of people get to work on time. Be one of them!

Scenario number three - Your child is late coming home. Again. They cannot drive themselves and therefor have to rely on others to get them home. You as the parent were not asked to pick them up and bring them home because the child was trying to do you a favor. But...the people who are to bring him home are notoriously late for everything. Do you extend grace to the child or ground him for coming home after curfew?

Last scenario - you have plans with friends. You are friends and your children are friends. Every time you make plans to do something, the friend's kids always seem to get sick. You know, once or twice I can see that. More than that, it seems a little odd that they only get sick when you have plans. Does the friend really NOT want to go out with you or is she, perhaps, a hypochondriac? No one knows! You graciously accept the cancellation the first few times but then do you stop even making plans with this person? How many times do you have to disappoint your own children for the sake of not hurting a friend's feelings?

Each of these scenes have extenuating circumstances but to which one do you HAVE to show grace? Granted, you should probably show grace in all of them but there are times when it is a struggle. Have you ever grown weary of showing grace?

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