Shop or Stop?
12 year old Sara was in the living room with her 15 year old sister Ashley, when her 18 year old brother Judah walked in.
“Hey you guys! I just got a call from Dad and he wants me to come and stay with Mom in the hospital for a while he goes to work. I’ll be gone all day so I want to lay out what you need to get done today.”
“How’s the baby?” Sara asked.
“Carson is doing great!” Judah replied, “Here’s what I want you to do,”
“Hey!” Ashley broke in, “How come you’re telling us what to do? Just ’cause you’re older than me doesn’t mean-”
“Ashley!” Judah said sharply, “don’t you remember Dad put me in charge while mom had her baby, any way, he just told me to make sure we get everything done today.”
Ashley rolled her eyes and walked over to the window, Judah took no notice.
“Sara, I have your list of chores right here, please also renew the library books that are due and vacuum the living room. OK?”
“All right, give mom a big hug from me!”
“Sure! Ashley, if you’re listening I’ve got your list of chores here too. In addition, I’d like you to make supper, and Sara, I forgot, can you put on lunch?”
“Can’t we just get our own when we feel like it Judah?” Sara questioned.
“I guess, I still want you to put supper on though Ashley. Be good, and don’t go outside or get on the computer unless you call me, I’ll have Dad’s cellphone with me, you know the number.”
“We have to check with you for everything we want to do don’t we! Did Dad tell you we have to call you?” Ashley turned around and glared at him.
“No, but I know that is what he would want you to do, I need to go now, be good!”
Before Ashley could reply he turned and walked out the door.
“Bye!” Sara called and looked down at her chore chart, “Hmm, there is a lot of things on here!”
“Just like him to give all his responsibilities to us too!” Ashley had her list in her hand and looked like she was about to rip it apart. But instead she turned and walked downstairs to look for the duster.
Sara started on her chores with diligence, but by lunchtime she lots to do. After eating a sandwich and a brownie she went downstairs to renew the library books. As she signed into the web to renew the books a friend popped up and wanted to chat. She was going to sign out when Ashley, who was slowly picking up the computer room, looked up and said,
“Hey! Why aren’t you chatting back to her? You haven’t talked to her in a while!”
“I’m not done everything, and besides, Judah said we have to call him if we want to get on the computer.”
“You’re gonna listen to him! I’m not that crazy! He just did that to annoy us! Go ahead and chat with her! He’ll never know!”
Sara resolutely signed out without replying and said to Ashley-
“I’m not going to, he said not to, whether he should have or not.”
Ashley rolled her eyes and walked out. “I’m having lunch now, you can load the dishwasher,” she called over her shoulder.
Sara just sighed and kept going. When she was done she walked out to get the vacuum. Ashley met her in the hallway.
“Hey Sara, are you gonna babysit anytime soon?”
“No, I need to keep working, OK?
“I can’t even talk to you? Come on, getting you work done isn’t that important!”
Sara just kept walking. A little later Ashley started talking again.
“Hey Ashley, I don’t want to ignore you but I really need to get my work done, please stop questioning me!”
“You just want Dad to be really pleased don’t you! I really don’t care if I get everything done or not. The dishwasher still needs to be loaded too.”
“I’ll load it then.” Sara replied and hurried away, hoping Ashley wouldn’t follow.
An hour later Sara had finished everything and was calling Judah. He didn’t answer so she put the phone back and decided to wait a couple minutes before calling again. Just then she heard the screen door open and peeked into the family room to see what Ashley was doing. She saw through the door one of Ashley’s friends who Ashley was talking to. Just then she ducked back into the kitchen because Ashley was turning around. She managed to look busy when Ashley walked in.
“Hey Sara, I’m going to check out a new store with Kate, wanna come too?”
“Did you get a hold of Judah? I wasn’t able too.”
“You are always thinking of him! I’m not bothering to call him, he’d just spoil it.”
“Well,” Sara was tempted, shopping was one of her favorite activities and she was tired of working. Besides, she hadn’t been able to reach Judah so it might be OK.
“What store is it? She asked.
“The one around the corner, the women’s clothing store we’ve been getting mailings from.” Ashley replied. “Hurry up, Kate’s waiting!”
Sara knew she had to decide quickly. Should she follow her older sister’s example or obey Judah? If only she had been able to get a hold of Judah. Finally she made up her mind.
“I’m staying here. If I can get a hold of Judah and he says yes I’ll meet you there, but I’m not disobeying Dad!”
“Dad didn’t say that, Judah did!” Ashley snapped back.
“Dad set Judah as our authority and I’m obeying him.” Sara replied. “I don’t care what you say, and I’ll tell Dad if you go.”
“Whatever, he won’t care!” Ashley flung back as she stormed out the door.
Sara was just on the verge of calling Judah when the doorbell rang and Dad walked in!
“Oh Dad! I’m so glad you’re here, you see, Judah gave us our chores to do and told us to call him before we went outside or got on the computer and Ashley just walked out the door without finishing her jobs or calling Judah. Can you help me?”
Dad thought a moment and then reached out to hug Sara,
“Thank you for obeying me and Judah, even though no one was watching. Ashley will receive consequences, as you would have had you gone with her. I’m glad I can trust you to make the right choices!”
Sara knew she had done the right thing. She also knew she would never stop a task or disobey even if no one was watching!