There's a situation in a pre-teen's life I (Lori) like to call the 11-year-old-itch. It's a tough age for several reasons. A child is no longer a baby, but not yet a "teen". It's hard to grow up a little, not needing mom or dad as much, but still needing them quite a bit. Also, I believe, children begin comparing themselves to others more, may be more influenced by peer pressure, and, as a young Christian pre-teen, they are tempted by all sorts of things that can keep them from going down the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. Satan is just as busy in the life of a pre-teen as he is in an adult's life! He wants all of God's children to fail!
Our youngest, Biscuit, is in that 11-year-old-itch time of life. He's been anticipating the beginning of the summer golf tour all spring. Today was the first day! We were up at 4:30 a.m., and left the house at 5:30 SHARP (per his insistence) to get to the course at 7:00 a.m., and not a minute later. And we made it, with six minutes to spare! 6:54 a.m.!
Biscuit was warned last week, this week, and this morning, that he had to have a good attitude no matter what happened today. And he knew I expected him to comply! His older sister served as his caddie for the day. She tried to encourage him, too!
Hole #1 started off okay (except for the fact that one of the tires ran off a bent rim on the pull cart!), but not until 9:30 a.m., so he had waited around quite a while. The "junior high" (how is Biscuit even in that division?!) was last to begin. And, I'm sure that Biscuit hasn't been on a good sleeping schedule since school has been out, so I know he was tired, but that's no excuse. He played poorly from the beginning. He was disappointed, but after one small visible disgust with his game, I reminded him of the attitude agreement. I told him that he wouldn't get another warning, but if I saw anything that seemed like he was angry, he would have to withdraw. There were 11 players in his age group, so he would be considered last (or worse, I suppose).
He held it together, plugged on for the remaining holes of the first nine, even finally getting one par on hole #7. Winning in the top three of each tournament in the tour last year, I know this was hard. He wanted to be in the top five. It wasn't going to come easy! I was thinking that he would turn it around during the second nine, and encouraged him that it possible could.
Unfortunately, the second nine didn't start any better. And on hole #12, I saw him hit his club to the ground. That was it! He had been warned. He had to withdraw. I knew it was what was best, and that in the long run, he would be learning a big lesson. But times like that are hard. It's hard to follow through, but that's when the lesson is learned. If I had given in, I would have been saying that his attitude was okay. It wasn't okay. It was wrong. And he knew it.
I made Biscuit tell the other players and parents he had to withdraw. Since three other boys were in his group, and it wasn't part of a team, it wasn't hurting anyone else. In fact, it probably sped up their game a little! He also had to tell the man in charge of the junior golf association. I know he didn't like having to do that, but that's okay. He needed to.
I'll never forget what he told the man: "I need to withdraw due to mental issues." I didn't laugh at the time, but just kind of nodded as the man glanced my way. I think he could tell Tyler was in trouble! As we walked off, I said, "It's attitude more than mental, but yes, it began as mental." Golf is very mental. And hard! I've laughed thinking about it, and someday I'll share this with Biscuit. He'll laugh, too!
Even though I was disappointed that Biscuit didn't keep his attitude controlled on his own - or with the help of God's Spirit - I wasn't mad and angry at him...just his actions. We drove through and got him some lunch, even though he had just wolfed down a sandwich a few holes earlier. We stopped for a few groceries, and he was asleep before we left town. He slept the whole way home - so about an hour and a half.
Yesterday I began reading the book of James to the kids. I picked out James 1:2-3 as the scripture for the week: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." We talked about that scripture as we drove off from the course, and how this trial would cause Biscuit to grow, even if he didn't realize it at the moment.
This afternoon, we began the second part of James chapter one. It began, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." Biscuit quickly said, "Mom! You directed that right at me!" I said, "Tyler, no I didn't! Did I write these scriptures? Did I plan this passage for today? God inspired these writings 2,000 years ago! God just works that way sometimes. He plans out just what we need to hear at just the right time." And you know what? Tomorrow's scriptures may be pointed right to me!
I'm thinking that next week's golf outing will go much differently. I'm pretty sure that we're going to have a stricter bedtime for this 11 year old, even if it's summer. I know that the "no sugar" for a week is going to make a big point in his life, too! It always does. And it doesn't hurt any of us to cut back on sugar. In fact, several of us already are doing so. But, maybe next week, if the temptation to let the disappointment of a missed shot tries to get from the inside to the outside and be visible, Biscuit will allow the Holy Spirit to calm him and help control that bad attitude. Maybe those scriptures will come to mind. And maybe we'll be just a little closer to getting out of that 11-year-old-itch!
Finer Grounds: Nehemiah 13
1 day ago