This weekend I was not the mean mommy though I wondered if I would be when Joshua asked me why I said “Oh My Gosh” in a church parking lot and reminded me not to exceed the speed limit. Instead, I listened to his voice shaking with confusion and fright for me “because God might be mad at you for using his name in vain in the church parking lot.” Most of us know that a mama’s first response is simply reflexive, responding to a child stepping out of his place. At least that’s the case with most strong black women I know. But in light of my mean mama self examination, I was extra careful with my responses to clarify for and comfort Joshua.
Before Joshua said that I used the Lord’s name in vain (right), he said that “Oh My Gosh” was cursing (not really). I re-explained that Gosh is a substitute for God, and he’s right that we shouldn’t say it because doing so is a way of calling out to God for no good reason at all. I apologized for saying “Oh My Gosh,” but Joshua continued to fret, repeating over and over what I had done and what he thought would be God’s response.
“Joshua, I said I was sorry. What else do you want me to do?”
“You can pray about it.”
“What should I pray?”
“You can ask God to help you not to say ‘Oh My Gosh’ anymore.”
“You are right, Joshua. I can pray.”
So I asked God to forgive me and help me not to say “Oh My Gosh,” which comes out at times I don’t even realize. And not realizing that I had said it was really frustrating for Joshua. If he could express himself, he’d probably want to know “How could you so freely say something that you teach me not to say?” But he didn’t have to say that. He was quite clear with his telling me that I was in the church parking lot.
Though my son conducted a lesson in humility for me, I was not the mean mama but the proud mama. He has learned and knows how to apply The 10 Commandments and is recognizing what displeases God. His 7-year-old ways may not yet be the most gracious, but we’re working on the “not what you say but how you say it.” He did pretty well this day. So on the expressway when he said, “Mama don’t forget,” his respectful way of reminding me not to speed, I said, “You’re right,” and I simply decelerated from 58 to get to the 55 limit. He knows laws and is working on the love, and in the process I truly am the proud mama.
Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith