This post is # 2 in a short series on motherhood’s sub-jobs. Border Patrol Agent- In our family we have boundaries. I feel like they are nicely defined although I have been reading Gary Chapman’s, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, and we have got some brushing up to do. At any rate, I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time on this particular job now that we have several teen-aged children. It consists of trying to keep our children inside the boundaries and trying to keep irrelevant people and circumstances on the other side of the fence. This is not easy. At one moment I am intently watching where one child is going to move so that I can thwart his attempts to jump over the fence. Meanwhile, another one is patiently digging under the fence. A few of them are happily playing in designated areas but they have either not reached their 14th birthday or they are stragglers from some paradise unknown to our family. At any given moment, the outside crowd may rush the fence line and my valiant efforts are trampled upon. Some days I feel like Moses, standing exhausted between Aaron and Hur, who are holding up Moses’s weary arms in order to keep the children of Israel safe. Moses simply couldn’t keep it up alone. I have my Aarons and my Hurs to be sure- trusted friends and family that I can rely on to hold me up when I am about to give in. These people are essential to my sanity as a border patrol agent. I also have at my command true principles and correct doctrines to teach the restless children so that perhaps they will quit trying to escape and start to notice and appreciate the beauty, safety, and spaciousness of the designated area. My ultimate goal is help them move completely away from the fence; perhaps to the point that it’s not even in their view. Now, this particular job may sound like the machinations of a control freak, but I’m pretty sure it falls under the Godly commission that we not suffer our children that ‘they transgress the laws of God’ (Mosiah 4: 14). We have to do all that we can to keep them safely within God’s reach. With that being said, once in a while, if I’m starting to get too absorbed in this duty, if I start to think that I can create impervious walls of defense, if I start to think that I just need to hold the boundaries a little tighter and the standard a little higher, if I start to think that I can control the whole situation with the right amount of this or the right amount of that, I have to take a refresher course from the transcendent Joseph Smith Jr.: “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves”. Ok- that’s some serious breathing room for a border patrol agent. But it is really, really, really hard to do when you’ve been on patrol for 18+ years. And sometimes I wonder if Joseph was familiar with teen-agers…. 🙂 My impulse is always to save, prevent, protect. But once our children reach a certain level of maturity we can no longer be the border patrol agent-we are now the passport checker. And if they decide that they want to ‘see the world’ that can be a brand-new, painful job that we didn’t know that we signed up for either. Fortunately, we have Jesus Christ and the Spirit of the Lord to support us through this whole process of becoming Godlike parents and to take over where we leave off… If only we could go back to 4 a.m. feedings…..