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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: Holding the Reins
By Garnet Miller


“So, how do we handle this?” Judith asked.

Her husband rubbed his chin. “Since he’s not performing well in school, his Playstation is coming out of his room.”

Judith sat up. “Why are you going to do that? We haven’t heard his side of the story yet. There may be a good reason why he isn’t doing his work.”

Carl sighed. “Then let’s talk to him.”

Judith climbed the stairs to Randy’s room. He was lying across his bed reading a book.

“Randy, can you come downstairs? Your dad and I want to talk to you.”

Randy dog-eared his page. “Sure Mom.”

They all sat down at the kitchen table together.

“Randy,” his father started, “we want to discuss your school work. Your teacher tells us that you are goofing off in class.”

Judith cut her eyes at her husband. “There’s no need to be harsh, Carl. What your father is trying to say is that we are concerned that something is wrong.”

“Nothing is wrong. I’m just not feeling school right now.”

“You’re twelve years old. You are too young not to ‘feel’ school. Until your grades improve your phone and gaming privileges are suspended.”

“What! It’s just a few grades!”

Carl stood and scowled at his son. “Don’t get an attitude with me. You are grounded until further notice!”

Randy ran out of the room. Judith crossed her arms and sat back.

“Did you have to be so rough on him? He’s only twelve.”

Carl crossed the room. “What do you want me to do Judith? He needs to learn discipline and respect.”

“Taking his games away won’t solve anything. You should have been gentler with him. You’re his father.”

“Yes, I am his father!”

Now, Judith stood up. “Meaning?”

“Meaning that I am trying to be his father but you keep undermining me. What do you believe Randy thinks when he sees you disagreeing with me in front of him?”

“I’ll tell you what he thinks. He thinks that he finally has someone on his side!”

Carl threw up his hands. “That’s it! I’m going out for a little while.”

Carl grabbed his jacket and left the house. Judith sat back down at the kitchen table. Tears began to flow from her eyes.

“What do I do, Lord? My family is falling apart.”

“Let Carl be the head of the household,” came the still small voice.

Judith was bewildered. “Carl is the head of this household, Lord.”

“No, you are. That is not how it should be.”

“What if he makes a mistake, like tonight? I have to take charge to prevent that.”

“Don’t you trust Me?”

Judith wiped her eyes. “Of course I trust you, Lord. I love you.”

“Then trust Me to lead your husband.”

“I can’t, Lord. I trusted my father and he hurt me. That can’t happen to me again. I won’t let it!”

“If you love Me, you must let go and do things My way. If you love me, then obey My Word.”

“I don’t know how,” she cried. “I’m scared.”

“You are keeping Carl from being the man I want him to be, and yourself from being the woman I want you to be.”

She swallowed hard. Staring at pictures on the wall, Judith remembered happier times with her family—times when she relied on Carl.

“Lord, I want to change. Teach me to respect Carl as Your head of this family.”

Judith sat on the couch and waited for her husband to return. When he came in, she rushed to the door and gave him a hug.

“I’m sorry Carl. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was wrong to contradict you in front of Randy.”

He grabbed her hands and kissed them. “I love you, Judith, but when you questioned Randy’s punishment, it made me feel like less of a man.”

Her lip quivered. “I—I—I didn’t know that. I’ve been so scared to trust you because of my father.”

“I’m not your father, Judith. As long as God leads me, I will do my best to make the right decisions for Randy and you. But, you must let me.”

She nodded. “Can we pray together now? I’m going to need some help.”

They both walked into the living room and knelt by the coffee table.

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This article has been read 949 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg02/06/06
Fighting in front of the kids doesn't solve anything, as we know. You had a good ending to this and words of wisdom with God involved. Nice job.
Kate Wells02/08/06
A major problem in families today. And you addressed it beautifully and sensitively.
The thing I loved best is how you guided the reader to repentance. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 02/09/06
Well-written, and I love the way you write dialog: lots of beats, very few affirmations. Bravo!
Cheryl Harrison02/11/06
Well written and very applicable. Your sensitivity to details of emotion shines through. Good job on a piece that truly convicts the heart.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/12/06
Feminists won't like this story...but I loved it! Very well written and made a very good point. Kudos!
Brandi Roberts02/13/06
*biting tongue* Oh how I know this feeling - only I'M the one who is using hard discipline. Well written, Garnet!