I have to admit, we have a pretty great kid. True, the teen years have been trying at times, but every now and then our son, Joshua, takes a giant leap of maturity. We first witnessed this when he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in October 2016. What an amazing day that was as we watched Joshua, no longer a little boy, stand before his leaders and peers and promise to do his duty to God and his country and to serve other people.
Of course, being an Eagle Scout wasn’t a magic fix against the angst of the teen years, and once in a while his Dad and I had to be the heavies in a situation. People have complimented us on how well we raised Joshua, telling us what a pleasure he was to have around. We tilted our heads, plastered on a smile, said thank you, and thought to ourselves you only say that because you don’t live with him. We’ve learned to chalk it up to Joshua being a typical teen.
On occasion, however, he does something that shocks his father and me to the point that we can’t quit talking about it. Like today, for example. Joshua works at a local grocery store one or two days a week. It’s his first job, and he takes it quite seriously. Already he’s making comments that let us know the good work ethic we instilled in him is paying off.
As if working hard and earning his first turkey this Thanksgiving (he was so proud) wasn’t reward enough for me and my husband, Joshua said to me, “Hey, Mom. Why don’t you give me the grocery list, and when I get off work, I’ll do the shopping.” Imagine the few stunned seconds that preceded, “Oh, okay…” Where did that come from? I know he’s extended his employee discount to us (another fact about which he was proud), but to actually expend his own time and energy shopping for the family? Has the lesson of caring for others finally sunk in?
I made an extremely detailed list for him including brand names and item counts. He laughed at me, but he folded it up and placed it in his wallet. We made sure he had a secure form of payment, another thing for which he must display the ultimate responsibility, and then his father dropped him off at work. And as I mentioned above, we could not stop talking about it all day long.
William repeatedly wondered aloud what made him offer to do the shopping. I got tears in my eyes and immediately envisioned Joshua as the CEO of a major corporation sitting behind a mahogany desk in his top-floor office with a picture of him working at his first job in a frame with a photocopy of his first paycheck. If you don’t understand my leap in logic, you’re probably not a woman and possibly not a mother. In any case, I built a little wiggle room into the grocery list in case he makes a small error, and I left the choosing of flavors for certain items up to him. Let’s pray my coaching on how to pick a good apple sticks.
Now if we can just get him to pick up his room on a daily basis.