This has nothing to do with Hanukkah, dreidels, gifts, latkes, or the holiday season. But I need to vent. Last week I was stopped by a cop for going 31 mph in a 20 mph school zone and served with a fine just short of $200.00. Really? Do you see the car seats in the back of my car? Am I really going to endanger the lives of little ones leaving school? (It was 4 in the afternoon… well after the bulk of those tykes toting backpacks the size of their torsos left school for the day.)
The strict hand of justice issuing me a ticket stood in sharp contrast to the patient, flexible, “that’s ok” land of mommy-hood that I inhabit so many of my waking hours. I was up early that morning baking oatmeal cookies for the nursery teachers, for heaven’s sake! The land of stern consequences for my actions seems worlds away from me. There’s always an opportunity for a second chance.
After fuming about this to my husband, who was in the “you-broke-the-law, deal-with–the-consequences” category of reactions, I found myself actually going the speed limit for the rest of the week. And later that day, when I ended up giving my son a time out for some mild infraction (kicking those foam packing peanuts all over the floor after I asked him not to), I was attune to the ways in which law enforcement comes in all shapes and sizes.
And while discipline has its place (a “that’s ok” attitude about everything with my kids would mean they would never learn how to behave in a way that keeps our home running smoothly), I still do think that “the punishment should fit the crime,” and I might just have to fight that traffic ticket.