People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them. ~Epictetus
Last night was one of those nights I wanted to scream “Me too!” at my older son.
It all started with the reminder to him about getting his Eagle Scout proposal in the hands of the Scout Master. My son had completed the first nine pages of the proposal – which, between my nagging and his procrastination, had taken him two weeks to complete.
On Monday, he finally emailed it over to the Troop Scout Master only to have the Scout Master reply:
“I’m not able to open the file on my laptop or Kindle or phone. Please re-send the file or bring a copy tonight.”
My son tried sending it a few more times with the same results: the Scout Master was unable to open the .pdf. Printing the document would be the most efficient option.
“I’ll deal with it later”, my son told me. That was Monday.
By Wednesday, the document had been printed and just needed to be delivered. My son emailed the Scout Master:
“Hi Mr. L, I have printed out the eagle proposal and was wondering when I could come buy and/or meet with you. Thanks.”
Again, the Scout Master replied right away:
“I have the ALC meeting tonight and you can drop off your project plan tonight prior to the 7 pm meeting or we can meet tomorrow before 7:30 pm.”
Here was the open invitation to hand-deliver his proposal, the chance to get it into the Scout Master’s hands before next week’s meeting, yet my son didn’t want to be “inconvenienced.”
“How dare he!” I thought to myself. How dare he say it was an inconvenience for him to take a 15-minute drive to drop it off at the Scout Master’s house.
A million thoughts of how I had been “inconvenienced” over the past few months: Delivering his baseball gear to him at school after he’s left it at home. Arranging to pick him up from school, games, and outings after he texts me: “Who is picking me up?” Taking him to and from doctor appointments. Going without a lot of things so we can pay for Lyme treatment. My time, my money.
I really wanted to scream “Me too! I am tired of being ‘inconvenienced’ on a regular basis” – oh, how I wanted to scream that at him, but I didn’t.
Instead, I held my tongue and thought about when I was his age. I am sure I “inconvenienced” my Mom as well.
I thought about the times my Mom picked me up and dropped me off at various activities. I thought about the things she gave up so that I could have a new prom dress or new clothes. Did I use the word “inconvenience” with her? I don’t recall but I do know one thing, she never uttered it to me.
The word “sacrifice” came to mind. My parents had made sacrifices for my brothers and me; I was doing the same for my children, making sacrifices out of love, not because they were a burden.
I took a deep breath and told him he was going. He scowled and left the house with my husband.
After they left, I thought about the future, when my son had children of his own. Would he remember this battle? Would he respond to his child in the same manner?
Perhaps that is one of the lessons he will learn from his Eagle project; maybe he will learn that yes, there will be times he will feel inconvenienced and put out.
I imagine when the project is complete he will learn that his hard work and effort paid off and that the reward at the end will be worth the sacrifices he made along the way.
Until he gets there, I’ll just bite my tongue.