Yesterday my 8-year-old went to school wearing pajama bottoms. He meant for me to double-check the note and back him up on it. But I didn’t. I figured it’s homecoming week, so it probably makes sense. Plus, this is John Michael we’re talking about. He doesn’t really get that kind of thing wrong.
But on the way to school, the fact that I couldn’t absolutely confirm that it was pj day kind of started to get to him. He grabbed his flannel leg with his fingers and said, “Man, I hope I’m right about this.” Welcome to Monday, Buddy. And apparently to upper elementary. And to life.
He was right about it of course. But you know I would have whipped that car around in a heartbeat if we hadn’t seen at least two kids walking into the building with their own versions of flannel. He may be old enough for “Man, I hope I’m right,” but he is definitely too young to have to be wrong all day long about something as flamboyant as pajama bottoms.
John’s little moment with the pj’s evoked such empathy in me. I could literally feel his pain. I think it’s the feeling a lot of us will have in the voting booth this November. The way we feel when we make a job change or move.
I feel it with an intensity that can only be described as wonderful but excruciating pain as we make decisions about our children. School, church, sports, television, video games, bed times, dessert. Every little thing I decide for them. I don’t know which is worse – the fact that the feeling never goes away, or the fact that the reason it doesn’t is because every now and then we actually will be wrong. We’ll be shouting at them through a bull horn some well-studied decision, and all the while we’re standing there in our pajamas.
Poor kids. They have no idea how hard it is for us to figure this out. How hard it is to protect them and guide them and shower them with affection they know they can count on no matter what else happens – all while actually trying to get out of the way so that God – as I believe it, and even life itself, can do its work. And every time we step in, and every time we get out of the way, we’ll be thinking one thing. Man, I hope I’m right about this.