Monday, November 9, 2009

Fiery Trial of Checkout Counters, Kids, and Ice

My boys are never ever coming to the grocery store with me again until they're about 30, and then they won't want to go to the grocery store with me; but if they did, I would run up and down several aisles, crawl on my belly by the milk, and even plop down on top of the bags of ice in the freezer while they're at the checkout counter, paying for their groceries and attempting to save face. Then they could finally experience how I felt today when they did those exact things.

The crawling in the ice freezer was indeed the culmination of this down-in-the-record-books trip. I removed them and headed to the door where the nice teen employee was waiting for me with my cart of groceries, thinking to herself, "This woman really needs to discipline her kids. When I have kids, mine will never do that."  As we were on our way out (the exit never looked so good), my oldest son decided to go back for seconds (he must have been hot from all that running). As I was waiting for him to come out of the freezer (only about 20 seconds, don't worry)--trying to figure out if reality discipline or old fashioned discipline would be most effective--a woman walked over from her checkout line and let him out. She cast me a not-so-nice glance, as if I needed the extra effect. Trust me, the "get a clue" glare did not tell me anything I didn't already know.

When we got home, we had a long talk about appropriate and inappropriate behavior, and why inappropriate behavior does not honor our family, other people, and the Lord. The boys also received some practical reminders to help them remember this lesson next time around (yes, I'm talking about what you think I'm talking about). :) I am slowly getting over my humiliation and anger about the whole ordeal.

Being the introspective mom in need of mercy that I am, I'm trying to find the lessons in all of this. One, don't take your kids to the store with you until they're way past maturity. So that's not practical, let's try again.

  1. I should have left the store when they first started misbehaving. I have said that before. I've never followed through, though, because it's really not very convenient. You've gone to the store with your kids because you need to get something; you at least want to get the something you came for. I guess you could take the kids out to the car, strap them in their car seats and lock them in while you run in the store for a moment, but in many states, this is technically illegal. My husband has suggested that I take the boys with me for nothing else than a training session. Don't plan to get any groceries, just plan to practice behaving properly in the store and/or leaving the store.
  2. As moms, our job is to provide constant training for our children. As embarrassing as it was, today's shopping excursion was indeed a training experience. I certainly hope they will behave better next time, when they're 30 and we go to the store together again :) It would be nice if we could train them once and never have to go back to the same lessons again, but that's just not the way it works. So we need patience. Lots of it.
  3. A sense of humor really helps. At the time it wasn't funny. It's not terribly funny to me now, because I'm still seeing a few shades of red; but I can see how I could eventually think their climbing on top of bags of ice in the freezer, shutting the door, and waiting there for me was a little bit funny--especially when they were talking about how much fun that was after we left.
  4. We have to keep our eyes fixed on the big picture. Otherwise these bumps in the road will seem bigger than they really are and will ruin our whole outlook on what we're really trying to achieve.
"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."--1 Peter 6-9
So while the checkout counter with kids in tow (or not very well in tow) may indeed be stressful, we must remember the goal we're aiming toward: we want (I hope!) our kids to develop a solid faith in Christ and a close relationship with Him as their Lord. Our part in helping this come about is to train, to teach, and to model for our children the difference a relationship with Christ makes in our own lives. Angry attitudes and harsh words over childish behavior, however inappropriate, do not paint the picture of why following Jesus is desirable and makes a difference in our day-to-day lives.

Today I'm grateful for these reminders. My kids fell short; I fell short too. If we're honest, we all do, many times a day. That's why God's grace and mercy is so restorative. A fresh start for a new day ahead.
May His grace be with us all, especially at the grocery store.

(linked to Gratituesday)


  1. Not funny to you, but funny to me. :) I'm glad it's just dog food and water softener salt bags that my kiddos climb on while I'm in the checkout lane. The freezer with ice bags is outside the store--now I know why!

    I have never followed through on leaving the store with misbehavior, either. Then I would be mad about the behavior, and mad I didn't get what I needed at the store!

  2. My mother-in-law once handed her full cart off to an employee to take my misbehaving husband and his brother home. Luckily, they lived only a few blocks away and the employee just rolled the entire cart into one of the big refrigertators and held it unti she could get back. I've never heard exactly what happened when she got home with the boys, but I know it didn't make as much impression as leaving the store!

    The lesson in all of this really hit home with me and was a much needed reminder.

  3. Yes, you will see the humor in this someday. : )

    My little one is only 6 months, but when he's older I hope I remember this story! Your grace (if after the fact) is an inspiration. God's mercy is indeed needed by all of us.

  4. Ya...its hard going to the store with 3 kids. I do when I am feeling brave. But it's so hard. Glad you got a lesson out of it!

  5. Sorry, but it's funny to me but probably only because it wasn't my kids. If it makes you feel better, my husband and his 2 brothers used to whine for stuff and ask "mommy! mommy! will you get this for me?!?!?" and run all over the store--I should mention that this was when they were teens and they did it to embarass her:)

    I've heard the trip just to practice is a good thing. Tell them not to ask for anything, follow all the rules, etc and if they go crazy you can just leave.

  6. Well...I can see the humor in it now that we are a few days out :)

    Samantha, I like your mother-in-law's idea! I bet leaving the store would make a huge impression. I will let you know when, and if, we try it out!

    For the next several weeks/months though, I am going to the store solo!

  7. of course i could of written this... the other day i explained the ground rules to the 4 and 3 year old boy (no running. no pushing. no hanging off the cart (remember when your sister fell out that time. no touching stuff..
    and if you do these things what will happen? we will go to the bathroom and have a talj (practical discipline)...they lasted about 6 minutes. and i followed through and gave discipline in the bathroom... they were pretty good (still jumped on the water fountain)..
    my n'bor says her husband use to say "promise em ice cream give 'em ice cream// promise em spanxs give em spanx.
    follow through is just SO difficult when you are trying to be done before the next childs naptime..::_
    believe me i feel ya sister!