We haven't seen a speeding ticket in awhile and our son Reed has never had one so it wasn't completely surprising when he visited a couple of weeks ago and produced the dreaded ticket as soon as he got his courage up. After raising four children you come to expect this kind of stuff will happen occasionally. It's a learning experience.
Reed had traveled from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Cordova, TN which is about a 5 hour trek and that is a huge chunk of time for a student in the architecture program at the U of A. Those guys practically sleep in the studio. But Reed declares on presenting the ticket that he wants to go to court and see if he can get this dropped. Really? You wanna hoof it back over here and sit in courtroom and take a chance on a goose egg and then hoof it back? Plus you will loose a day of school which is like losing a week up there. Yes. (That's his mama in him - I hate to back down without a fight)
So Reed shows up in the middle of the night ready to drag it to court the next day. We drive over to West Memphis where the offence occurred and endure hours of waiting in the hallway and courtroom for all manner of criminals and soon to be criminals to talk to the judge. It was an experience to say the least. I can't remember the judges name but he was a great guy. He took time with each person and tried to think of the fairest treatment for their situation. He used humor and sage advice to work his way through the sea of human infractions against the laws of man. In a humble kind of awe I watched his technique. I saw his judgment apply only to the matter at hand but not to the person at foot. It was good to see a person of authority trying to help those who society had probably given up on, not all of them but many of them. His goal was clear - to hand out justice in the best way possible hoping that judgment would help the person do better in the future.
Then it was Reed's turn. It's a strange thing to be proud of your son as you see him stand before a judge for breaking the law. But in a weird and warped way only a parent could understand I was proud of him. He had on a nice button down with a sweater and even though his jeans were red they looked nice with his dress shoes. Even though his hair is long and curly like only a wanna-be rock star architect student would wear it, it was clean. It was obvious, this kid was a good guy. He stood up straight, he answered with respect. The judge was clearly exhausted from telling the same people the same stuff - so many repeat offenders and he actually knew some of them by name. The judge looked visibly relieved when he talked to Reed. He had to get all the way to the "W"s but finally here was a good guy trying to make something of himself. The judge even said so, "I like to see a young man doing something with his life".
Long story short, the judge really cut him a huge break. Reed learned a few powerful lessons and you know what, so did I.
Lesson 1: Don't break the law
Lesson 2: If you are going to break the law be prepared to accept the consequences
Lesson 3: Show up for your judgment day prepared and with the right attitude
Lesson 4: Judgment of someone's actions is different than judgment of the person
As a heavy girl I have to admit I can be pretty hard on myself. Perhaps the take away for me is that even though my son broke the law, I could still love him and be proud of him for being a man of character. Can I not apply that to myself? I went against the law of nature and consumed more calories than I burned. I am paying the consequences. Does this make me a bad person? No way! So what should I do on "Judgment Day"? (Which for someone overweight is ongoing and I am both the judge and the offender...)
My thoughts? Show up each day dressed and prepped for success. Stand up straight and accept the judgment. Have a good attitude. Judge the offence and not the person. Be kind but be firm, use humor and sage advice but most of all be fair. That's the only kind of judgment that changes lives.
That's All ~ Thanks Y'all!!