“You’re not going to be happy,” I heard my husband say into the cell phone.
He was at home, checking whether our dryer had a three or four prong cord. I was at Best Buy, trying to buy the correct replacement. But it turns out we have no electric cord at all.
Now, I can see where you might chuckle and think this is an easy mistake to make. Or not. But whether or not you’re sympathetic to our mistake, you need to know it’s not not the first time we’ve made it. The last time was when we moved into this house.
Trying to save some cash, we bought a used washer and dryer off Craig’s List. We borrowed a friend’s trailer, drove over 30 minutes to pick it up, hauled it home, and carried the set into the house–only to realize we had bought an electric dryer for a house that had gas hookups.
The experience was traumatic to me. The last thing I wanted to be doing, with boxes stacked to the ceiling, was resell a washer/dryer set, and shop for one I could use. You’d think the details of this trauma would stick in my mind forever.
But, oh no. There we were in Best Buy, choosing a dryer, when I said to Ken, “We have electric, right?” Oh, yes. He was sure we had electric. Because remember the fiasco last time? We laughed to ourselves, remembering.
We were laughing over our own stupidity at the precise moment that we were repeating the same stupid mistake.
Which isn’t funny.
Now, the wrong dryer was being delivered in the morning.
I wasn’t happy, but I figured Best Buy would be even less cheerful.
I was wrong. The guy from Best Buy was so gracious! He didn’t roll his eyes or make us beg or even charge us for the (non)delivery. He said, “Oh, no big deal. We’ll just swap you out for a gas dryer and have one there next Wednesday.”
His grace was so refreshing!! I knew the mistake was all ours; I told him so! But he said, “We just want to get you all taken care of.”
As a mom, I could take some pointers from the Best Buy guy. My kids are going to make repeated mistakes. Even big ones. They’re going to fail to learn from the last time and do it again. Partly because they come from parents who do the same thing!
When my kids make a big, inconvenient mistake, I don’t tend to say things like, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” Or “We just want to get you all taken care of.” And I need to.
If you get more grace for mistakes at Best Buy that at my house, there’s a problem. Especially regarding mistakes that aren’t categorized as moral failures–like losing your thermos, twisting up some cords, forgetting your shin guards, or throwing your clean jeans down the laundry chute.
Does my parenting characterize God’s kindness, even in the context of mistakes?