The Next Dictator

March 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

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.

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.

Comments

4 Responses to “The Next Dictator”
  1. Lee Carver says:

    Control the whole world! Yes!! It was at about the same age, 5, that our granddaughter indicated to her pilot-grandfather her interest in aviation. “You want to be a pilot?” he asked. “No, I want to be the one who teaches the pilots.” Even earlier, her baby sister was born 3 days from her third birthday. Adoring the new baby, she kept kissing her. Her mother tried to stop her because the elder sister had a bad cold. Our little controller protested vehemently, “But she’s MY BABY!” And bless her heart, she always has taken care of her little sister.

  2. Julie Marx says:

    Very funny anecdote and a good message, Jane. Yes, I have one of those children and I married a dictator wannabe. I’ave always viewed myself as the agent to humble them…but now I must reassess that self-perception. lol
    Thanks for being so transparent.

  3. Matthew Thornton says:

    I just want to point out the the verse you’ve chosen to site supports my argument versus your own.

  4. Lee King says:

    Yes, Jane, I remember Meredith, and also remember that she used to be called “the Mouth.” I think it has taken women like Meredith to bring women up to the status where we can be anything we want to be if we work hard and do our best. But the other side of that is reliance on God, and that is what too many controlling types miss. But I’m sure that you and Wes are praying daily for Meredith, that she will always seek God’s guidance in all of her “controlling” days.

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