Thursday, April 30, 2009

(Not so Little) Licorice Sticks

“Mommy! Now we’re not going to be able to listen to licorice sticks anymore!” Basden eyed the overflowing basket of library books and CDs in our laundry room, ready for today’s return from their three-week hiatus in our home. She lightly tossed the Karen Harper CD from hand to hand, studying the front cover.
“Oh, sure we will, Basden. I copied that song on my laptop, and we can listen to it anytime.”
Engrossed in a spread of baseball cards, Branson piped up from the next room, “Hey Mom, isn’t that illegal?”
I mumbled some sort of answer and avoided his question, hoping RBIs and home runs and win/loss records would keep his mind on baseball and off of me.
Of course I knew it was illegal. Kinda. Just one song. I’d thought through it, for oh, about five seconds, before I burned the CD. I didn’t even like the other songs, but that one jingle - Six Licorice Sticks - summoned delight and giggles in my girls.
And after all, it was just a library CD. Kind of scratched up already, and Karen Harper would never know - or probably care.
But Bran’s comment buzzed around my brain like an annoying horsefly, loud and bothersome and too big to ignore.
So returning home from dinner, I promptly opened Itunes.
“Hey Bran, come here.” He peeked around the corner of my desk and plopped down in front of my laptop, mesmerized as always by a computer screen flowing with music files.
“I owe you an apology, B. You were exactly right about it being illegal to download that CD. I knew it was wrong, but convinced myself it didn’t matter.”
We continued on for a minute, Bran shrugging his shoulders, not too concerned with Mommy yet again righting a wrong. But I’m counting on the fact that he heard my words and will remember me pressing that delete button. And that even 36-year-old Mommies who know what integrity is supposed to look like have to be reminded at times that it really does matter - even when we think others aren’t looking.
Interestingly, Branson and I have been memorizing a verse in Matthew this week together.
Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness! Matthew 25:23

A few days ago we wrote this verse on a little notecard and talked through the importance of being honest and responsible in the little areas. Like not taking his Ipod to a birthday party when I’d asked him not to. Or when Dad says sure to getting a couple of Milk Duds, he doesn't mean emptying half the box when we’re not looking. I wanted Bran to understand that if I can trust him in little things like Ipods and Milk Duds, then I can trust him in bigger ways, and it ultimately broadens his freedom.
So the lesson comes full circle, and I get a simple, knee-jerk reminder from my nine-year-old that I, perhaps even more so, am responsible for integrity in the little things.

Lord, thank you for sharp reminders that the way I handle “little” things indeed matter. People see, and more important, You see. And most important to my heart at this point, my nine-year-old sees.