A Lesson Lived


Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really love my mom. And I know that she loves me. But she does things differently than other moms.

My friends Ben and Cory think that she’s cool, but they don’t know what it’s like to have a mom like mine. She does a lot of normal mom stuff, like baking oatmeal cookies and mending my pants if I slide too hard into second base. But sometimes she’s not normal at all.

See, she doesn’t ever get mad at me. Well, hardly ever. Even when I do something wrong or bad, she doesn’t often get angry with me. That’s why the guys say that I’m lucky.

But I didn’t feel so lucky last week. Now that it’s summer vacation, the guys and I go to the park almost every day. Thursday morning, just as I was eating a banana for breakfast, Mom said, “Jamie, I’d like you to clean up your room before you leave. And don’t forget to put your dirty clothes into the hamper.”

I could tell by her “I’m-serious-about-this” look that I wouldn’t be able to change her mind, so I slam-dunked the banana peel into the garbage pail and took the stairs two at a time to my room.

I could see out my window that the sun was shining and that it was already a great day outside. It was too nice a day to be inside cleaning my room. So I quickly made my bed, sort of, and put away most of my books and almost all the pieces of the model that I was building. There were some clothes on the floor under my nightstand, but I figured that Mom wouldn’t notice if I left them there just this once.

I raced down the stairs and called, “All done, Mom. I’ll be at the park.” And before I could hear her answer, I was out the door.

Mom didn’t say anything about my room when I came home for lunch, and she didn’t say anything on Friday, either. At soccer practice I asked Cory what his mom would do if he didn’t clean his room when she told him to.

“Oh, my mom likes things really neat,” Cory replied. “She’d probably finish cleaning it up and tell me later what I did wrong.”

“My mom’s always worried about my room being clean,” Ben put in. “I don’t know what the big deal is about being neat.”

I told the guys how Mom hadn’t even said anything about my leaving my room a little messy, and Cory said, “You sure are lucky, Jamie!”

But Saturday morning when I woke up early to get ready for the big soccer game, I couldn’t find my uniform. I went to the kitchen where Mom was making pancakes and said, “Mom, where’s my uniform?”

I knew that I was in trouble when she smiled at me and feigned innocence.

“What uniform?” she asked.

“My soccer uniform,” I said. “The game starts in thirty minutes!”

“Oh, could that be the dirty outfit crumpled up by your bed?”

I ran upstairs, and sure enough, there was my uniform. It was wrinkled and muddy and had ketchup stains from a messy hot dog on the front. I took it down to Mom.

“Why didn’t you wash it, Mom?” I demanded. “You knew I had a game today!”

“Well, I asked you to put your dirty clothes into the hamper,” she answered. “If your uniform had been there, it would be ready to wear.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I put on a T-shirt and jeans and left for the game. I sure felt dumb being the only player without a uniform, and the guys teased me about it too.

On the way home, I realized that it really was my fault that my uniform wasn’t washed. I guess it is important to put things away so they’ll be ready when you need them. And I guess I’m old enough to take care of my own things.

When I got home, Mom was folding clothes in the basement and asked me how the game went.

“We won,” I said. “I’m sorry that I didn’t pick up my clothes.”

“I know you are,” she said, giving me a hug. “A lesson lived is a lesson learned.”

See, that’s the kind of thing my mom says all the time. I still think it’d be easier if my mom was a normal mom, but I guess the guys are right. I am pretty lucky.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Karl Hepworth