When Your Children See You Fail

How to react to your failures as a parent

He pointed his index finger straight at me and flipped his lights. Busted! As the state trooper roared out behind me, I believe I muttered something profound like "Oh, no." My kids were silent as I found the closest pull-off and slowed while the car I had just passed now passed me. A perfectly good morning, just a week shy of the end of the school year, ruined. And I had only myself to blame, speed demon mom that I am.

Not only did it mean a pinch to my bank account, but it was also a blow to my mom-mentor status.

I did what every responsible driver should—pulled out my driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance card and held them ready. And, of course, it seemed a month went by as I waited for the officer to walk up to my car window.

We had the usual conversation—he inquired about why I was driving at an increased speed and warned me of the danger of the particular passing lane I had used, and I meekly explained that I was taking my children to school. I didn't bother to tell him that the next ten to twelve miles on this two-lane highway were typically plagued by slow-moving vehicles and this was my last chance to pass those who would slow down my progress to get my little scholars to their classrooms by 8:30. My dominating thought was to get through this as fast as possible. Not only did it mean a pinch to my bank account, but it was also a blow to my mom-mentor status. I'm the mother who tries to point out real-life truths as we ride, dissecting the news and current events on the radio, taking advantage of every teachable moment I have with my kids. To be caught in a blatant transgression before their very eyes was, to say the least, humiliating.

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