Sunday, May 3, 2009

blazing amazing grace

Yesterday, my 10-year old was angry at the people gathering for Portland's Cannabis Rally. From my grown-up superliberal perspective, it was an over-the-top, irrational reaction - Mason wanted to "punch all of them" or "flip everyone off" [wha??]; he hoped the SWAT team would come take them away, and he bitterly predicted they're all going to Hell [trust that it is not our family policy to surmise who is or is not going to Hell; I might have a chat with the Sunday School teacher next week]. All of this vehemence came between bites of pizza and my attempts to counter his disgust with calm tolerance for different beliefs & values. It was startling, exhausting, and depressing.

I know a significant portion of my son's personality has been overtaken by the surliness of imminent adolescence yet I cannot be still while he seethes over other people's behavior. I desperately want to help him understand it is okay to hold onto his opinion but wishing others ill will is not only mean-spirited, it serves no purpose - they are oblivious to his feelings [and probably care little] and he only keeps himself from delighting in sunny afternoons, pepperoni pizza & root beer, and Muppet-like dogs bounding around while he agitates about the fate of stoners.

During our half hour at the square, I was finally able to bring my boy off the ledge of condemnation by explaining what marijuana really is (apparently the school's "drug awareness" program lumps everything from pot to meth into one terrifying, irreversible death sentence) and assuring him that most people who smoke it are still reasonable & valuable, if occasionally spaced out, citizens; I finally instructed him to channel any remaining irritation into political action or prayer but no more ranting will be allowed.

Later, as we stood in the rain waiting for a streetcar, an unshaven & heavily backpacked young man made his way through the crowd asking for $8.34 for bus tickets home. I gave him the $4 in my coat pocket, which he graciously took before announcing excitedly to the crowd that he now only needed $4.34; no one moved. Mason turned to me and asked if I had any more money; I dug a five out of my wallet. When Mason delivered it, the young man shook his hand and said "God bless you, dude!" As he walked away, a young woman wearing a lei of fake pot leaves joined him; they both flashed peace signs at us and shouted thanks.

Mason beamed. He told me, "That felt really good to help them out." I gave him a sideways Mom-to-preteen-boy hug then gently squeezed his shoulder and asked if he realized the couple had been at the rally; a shadow crossed his face, fleetingly. After a moment he said, "That's okay. I'm still glad I helped them."

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ~
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...
Ephesians 2: 8-9


Jen said...

Great story, from a great Mom! :)

shrink on the couch said...

Oh, so it really WAS a pot gathering. I see, I see.

I am shocked and dismayed at the drug awareness teaching my son has gotten at his school. They too lump pot in with all of the worst. I wish they'd teach more discernment so that they'd fear the REALLY bad stuff. The whole "gateway" business is misleading.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

That Mason? He's gonna be just fine. And he probably made Jesus put down his bong and smile.

katydidnot said...

that he didn't begrudge them the nine bucks after discovering their pot proclivity speaks well of him. and this phrase "while he agitates about the fate of stoners" speaks well of your writing ability. fabulous phrase.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

To a liberal like me who would be happy to see marijuana legalized the conversations are many and interesting.

He's a good-hearted boy with a good-hearted mom.

zelzee said...

You handled that perfectly.
Mason has a kind and good heart.

And, I couldn't imagine a Cannabis Rally in my town!!!!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

The lumping together of all illegal drugs and pitching the fear factor equally is such a disservice.

He's just taken what he's heard and built opinions from there.

But he's such a sweetie, deep down and truly.

Fantastic Forrest said...

You know, I was going to tease you about your naiveté about the terrible dangers of marijuana and link to Reefer Madness but the whole going to hell thing just made me cry.

My boy has an equally judgemental attitude about drugs, but he reserves hell for true evildoers, like corporate polluters and those who waterboard innocents. That seems reasonable.

Seriously, I wonder some times about the lessons and values our kids are learning. And I wouldn't assume the Sunday School teacher is to blame on this one. Popular culture tosses around the expression "going straight to hell for that one" pretty freely. Much as I'd love to blame organized religion for Mason's initial intolerance, there may be a mix of other influences there.

One thing's for certain: you made marvelous use of a teachable moment to show your boy love for others through action.

LarryG said...

I love the message on this one...

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! ---

It's all God's idea! and gift...
I am so glad it's not up to mere people :)

Glad your son got on board!

apathy lounge said...

You've earned your Mother's Day tribute this year!!

Alison said...

What a great perspective you shared with him, Stephanie. And it's obviously getting through.

ms-teacher said...

I have such mixed emotions about the whole marijuana issue. As one who used to be quite liberal regarding the use of it and who does think it needs to be legalized - I have seen the damages that can result from long-term use. I also believe that it can be a gateway drug.

However, I think that you handled this situation with your son very well.

Gretchen said...

Um, I'm going to skip over all the pot thoughts, since I don't really want my kids thinking pot is okay but crack is not, since the police will send them to jail either way.

BUT... you are SO right about his feelings just being wasted on people who don't know he's mad at them. That's a very good lesson. It's a good precursor for letting go of non-productive emotions.

Now, if I could only let go of my own worries!

JCK said...

Nothing like real people face to face to do a lesson plan!

You're such a softie. And so is he.

OK, Cheri made me laugh out loud...through my nose.


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