… your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Isaiah 30:20
Mason came home from school last Thursday with a candy cane. When I asked him where he got it, he said that a classmate had put it in his stocking. When I asked him “what stocking?” he explained that his third grade teacher had hung up stockings for all the kids in his class. I guess the idea was to inspire the students to do nice things for each other by leaving small tokens in each others stockings. I don’t know when she hung them up, but that was the first that I was hearing about it.
Not one to keep much candy on hand, I did happen to have a bag full of treats for the gingerbread houses we were going to decorate together. I was thrilled to go to it and count out 21 individually wrapped peppermints for Mason to put in his backpack to put in the stockings the next day. I handed them to him smug with pride. I felt like I finally had it together and was the prepared and equipped mom I have always wanted to be.
I couldn’t wait for Mason to get home the next day so I could hear how excited all the kids were to get their candies. I imagined him beaming with pride, because I know I was. I had been patting myself on the back for 24 hours! But when I asked Mason how it went, his answer was, “Well…” His voiced trailed away, along with his eye contact. He then went to his backpack and pulled out this enormous plastic tube filled with a reindeer Pez dispenser and nine cartridges of Pez candies! Nine! My jaw dropped as he explained that a girl in class had filled each and every student’s stocking with the same thing. The one measly peppermint had no impact whatsoever when compared to this “tube of sugar and fun.”
In my annoyance over this gross display of extravagance, I proceeded to explain to Mason what the terms “stealing your thunder” and “being upstaged” meant. I could feel my aggravation level rising during the explanation. Yet when I finished my dirge and looked at Mason, he was just standing there holding that damned plastic tube with a big smile on his face. I asked him how he felt about the whole thing. His response was, “Yah, she did steal my thunder, but can I eat this whole thing myself?”
It was then that I realized that although I was teaching Mason these trendy little expressions, he was the one teaching me a more important lesson. I constantly preach to my kids that “we don’t compete and we don’t compare.” Yet that’s exactly what I had been doing. I was competing with the other moms with the stocking treats, and I was really comparing the little peppermints to the “tubes of sugar” and getting upset about it. More importantly, I was making it about me and my emotions, not about Mason and his. How utterly shameful and embarrassing for a mom to admit! God bless Mason for grounding me in the midst of it all. There, in my eight year old son, “my teacher was hidden no more; with my own eyes I could see him.”
Needless to say, I did not allow Mason to eat the whole “tube of sugar” himself. Instead, I told him he needed to split it with his brother and sister. Being the great kid that he is, he readily agreed. While my kids ate Pez candies, I ate humble pie, admitting that even the teach needs to be taught.
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