The Next Dictator
By Jane Thornton –
Rain slashed across the windshield, wipers frantically flapping to eke out a hint of visibility. Inside our cocoon of dryness, Meredith, my five-year-old daughter, sat in the passenger seat. (For those of you who just inhaled with mighty outrage, this preceded the current laws about car seats, weight, etc.) The downpour and our surprise over it inspired a conversation about weather and weathermen.
“I don’t want to be a weatherman when I grow up.” Merry’s conclusion was definite.
Peering through the storm, I hummed noncommittally and stopped at the intersection.
“They’re sometimes wrong.” Her hazel eyes reflected none of the conflict surrounding her.
Wow. I managed to hold back my hilarity as I pondered where to start sermonizing about how everyone is wrong occasionally. Before I could settle on a place to begin, she continued.
“I want to tell everyone…” Her gaze probed the car’s headliner for the exact phrase. “I just want to…”
I waited with bated breath.
“…you know…control all…” Lips pursed, she deliberated. “…the whole world.”
A daughter after my own heart.
On the job, I still cling to some psychology I learned years ago in my education classes, clutching at all the control I can get. I wear black on the first day of school. I learn my students’ names within three days (good for other reasons, but my speed is highly motivated by the need for a small degree of power).
At home, I try harder to control my urge to control. The stereotype of the nagging shrew who treats her husband like a child repels me, so I make a conscious effort to curb my tongue—usually. I do find myself falling into the habit of asking questions to which I already know the answers, just to subtly get my way. My children are pretty much grown, nineteen and twenty-one. But as long as they are financially dependent on me… there I go again.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15 NIV).
A hard verse for a veteran planner. And, of course, we can find many Scriptures that also encourage preparation. The primary goal here is to learn to recognize and acknowledge God’s sovereignty—and to find peace in it. His hands are so much better at the wheel than mine.