On this Family Day weekend I’ve been thinking about our family. Jason and Susan, Philip and Amanda and of course Cath and Terry, Shaun and Leanne. I’ve been thinking about Mom and Dad and some of the family lessons I learned growing up. Lessons on perseverance, love, sacrifice, caring and trust. Trust is the lesson that has been forefront in my mind lately.
I was 16, had just passed my driver’s licence and was looking for every chance I could to drive the car. One evening Mom and Dad had a babysitter to look after Leanne and Cath as I had been out with my parents at the Sunday night meeting. (Sunday night meetings require a separate blog!)
It was winter and we had had some mild weather which caused things to be a bit slippery when the temperatures fell that night. When we arrived home Dad suggested I might like “to drive the babysitter home” (sorry I don’t remember who it was). I think at the time I wondered if Dad thought I had an interest in the babysitter or if he was aware of how much I wanted to drive.
At any rate I accepted the offer to drive the babysitter home and within 5 minutes had dropped her off. For some reason, which could only be explained by a 16 year old’s logic, I decided to drive by my high school. Why? Did I think someone would be there? Perhaps a couple of my friends anxiously waiting at 9 pm on a Sunday night for the school to open so they could be first to get to homeroom?!! The logic escapes me now. But at the time it made complete sense.
As I approached Wexford Collegiate I made one more decision that lacked logic. I decided to drive though the parking lot and around the school. Remember the ice?
As I got to the first corner a car came from the other direction and boom….we did not manage to miss each other. In surveying the damage I could only think of one thing – how was I going to tell my Dad? Telling my Mom didn’t seem to register….no it would be facing my Father. Don’t misunderstand me, my Dad was not a difficult Father – in fact he was a very gentle man. That didn’t diminish the fact that I still had to TELL him what I did.
The confession went well and I was informed I would have to pay for the damages. About $180…which in 1974 was a fair amount of cash – especially for a 16 year old.
I figured I would not be driving the family car again for a very long time.
About a week later we were all gathered around the supper table when my Dad raised the subject that Youth Group was coming up and “did you want to take the car?”. At that moment I learned a huge lesson about trust. I had messed up and would need to bear the consequences – but that didn’t erase the trust my parents had in me.
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. In my own leadership (and parenting) I’ve tried to remember that just because someone messes up they deserve to be given another chance. Isn’t that how God treats us?