Mothers Who Get in the Way

I’m lounging by the neighborhood pool, and I notice a group of teenage boys wildly attacking one another, throwing one another into the water, and performing ever-increasing feats of manliness for all to see.  I’m worried someone will get hurt, especially the young children trying to swim. 

One mother gets up from her seat and positions herself directly in their path.  She sits down, dips her feet in the pool, and reclines as water, sweat, and testosterone fall like grenades around her peaceful form.  

“What are you doing?” I ask and join her while shielding my face from the onslaught of water and muscles.  I know this mother has a teenage son, so I’m curious about her behavior. 

“I’m putting myself in the way.”

She’s stationed herself between the teenagers and the young children.  She whispers to me that one of her best parenting strategies is to “be in the way.”   Sure enough, those boys redirect their energy away from the young children trying to swim.

“Just be in the way,” she says.

I nod my head and think of all the times I have already been “in the way” of family members, students, and neighbors.  Something about getting right in the middle of somebody’s business–being obviously in the way–could help avert harm.  And I’m so thankful for all the mothers, teachers, pastors, and friends who stood in my way when I went about my own disastrous plans.  “Get out of my way!” I’d think.  “You’re ruining my plan!”

Well, those folks who were in my way saved my life.

I love this pool mother’s attitude.  That tiny little woman got right in the mix with a dozen sweaty teens.  She was in the way.  And that’s what mothers do.  

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Journal:  Do you need to get in somebody’s way today? 

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