My son purposely rode his ox into the mire today. Then, when he realized his ox was stuck, he got upset and vowed to leave it there.
It wasn’t his fault, he defended, someone else made him ride his ox into the mire. The other person needed to solve the situation and get the ox out of the mud, not him.
But I tell my children all the time--"solve the problem yourself.” Do not expect others to fix life for you.
My husband and I both talked to our son. We told him he had a responsibility to solve the problem. We let him know we knew the situation was hard and his feelings were understandable, yet he needed to put his own personal opinions aside and work to get that ox out of the mire.
As most very upset teenagers do, he didn’t like what we said. He dug his heels deeper into the mud, saying he would not do anything to fix the problem.
But I knew he would. He is a good kid with a heart of gold. He doesn’t like problems in his life and he will do even difficult things to fix problems. He just needed some time to process our counsel.
Sure enough, a few minutes later he came to me and said he would try to fix the problem but he wasn’t happy about it. Nor was he hopeful he could get it fixed in time. You see, there was also a deadline involved.
Nevertheless, he took a deep breath, sucked up his courage, and waded into the mud.
I watched my teenager start the task of digging his ox out of the mire. I knew his time to solve the problem was very limited and he would fail if left alone. I also knew how hard it was for him to even do the task, so I joined him. I got right down in the mud with him and, together, we worked and labored and dug his ox out of the mire.
Then he went, on his own, to face the adult he did not get along with and present him with the unstuck ox.
I was very proud of him. People may say he drove is own ox into the mire—that it was all his fault. But my memories will always be of him digging deep within himself and working extremely hard to resolve a very unpleasant situation.
My son purposely rode his own ox out of the mire today.
He is becoming a very good man.