I have been wanting to tell someone this story and everytime I’m with someone I forget. So I’m going to share it with you!
Our driveway is long and narrow. When Chris needs to leave for work, sometimes we have to juggle the cars. One night, Chris was going to work his overnight shift, and on this particular night, I needed to move the van to let him out. As I was about to back into the road, I had to wait for a couple of cars to go by. As I was waiting for them to drive past, I saw a bicycler coming.
Since I am a kind soul, I decided the best course of action would be to let him pass, too. Even if that meant Chris was going to be late for work. As I waited for this biker, I noticed that he was swerving all over the place. He wasn’t pedaling very quickly and he was in the road, he was in the bike lane, he was back on the road, he was almost in the grass.
Then, what I saw torqued me off. I was so frustrated. The kid was no more than 13, but he was probably like 11. As he was riding his bike, he was also talking ON HIS PHONE! I was so upset. My first thought was, “You can’t even be off the phone long enough to ride home? You are going to fall off your bike. You are an idiot!”
Was I passing judgment? Yes.
Was it uncalled for? Maybe.
Was I right? Totally!
The bike went past me, and I let up on the brake. The next thing I knew I heard, “UMPH!” I looked out my window, and I saw the bike and the rider on the ground. The guy had gone about 6 feet past me and completely toppled over his bike.
He was frantically trying to pick himself up and was scrambling to get his bike off the road. All the while, his head was still cocked to the side holding the phone between his shoulder and his head. It was when he was trying to get back on his bike that he finally hung up.
I thought he was crazy. I thought maybe I should help him. Then, I looked down at what I was wearing….
My pajamas. And not pajamas that I should be seen in. It wasn’t that they were exposing, but I should never be out on the street helping a tween in these pajamas. So therefore I sat in the comfort of my van and watched him as he struggled.
When he was safely on his way, I pulled out of the driveway, let Chris go to work, and pulled back in. I got out of the van and ran into the house (because I was in pajamas that shouldn’t be out in public). I immediately called Chris.
“I didn’t hit that kid, did I?”
“No. There was no way you could have hit that kid.”
“Okay, thanks. Because if I had, I would have felt him hit the car, right?”
“Yes. There is no way you hit that kid.”
“Okay. Thanks… Have a good night at work. You’re sure I didn’t hit that kid?”
“You did not hit that kid. There is no way you could have hit that kid. Good night.”
As much as I knew that BJ’s choice was silly (BJ-my new name for the biker kid–I know it should be BK, but I don’t want to bring to mind Burger King. So the next best thing is BJ), I couldn’t stop him from making that choice.
First of all, he wasn’t my son. I wasn’t the one who set up rules and guidelines for him to follow. I couldn’t hold him accountable to my standards because he wasn’t supposed to live by my standards.
Secondly, even if he was my son, clearly he was making his own choice in the absence of parentals. I cannot guarantee that my children will make the best choices all the time. They are going to make some bad choices, and I will not be able to protect them. Some of the choices they make could be dangerous. And some of them could change their lives forever. I cannot be with them for every choice they make.
I do hope that in those life changing moments, the principles that Chris and I have tried to teach them will be firmly engrained in their hearts. I pray that they will make choices not to make us happy but because they can weigh the pros and cons.
Finally, no matter what choices they make, I will love them. I never want to belittle them. I want to bite my tongue, but I also want to be real. I want to always let them know how their good choices lighten my life and how their bad choices break my heart.
I’m really glad that BJ is fine and nothing more than his pride was hurt.
But what I’m really really REALLY glad about is that I didn’t hit him!