Parenting Aces – The Hole in the Wall #1


The Mom

My friend Shelley had quite a few tricks up her sleeve, and we often shared parenting struggles with each other. Our boys were nearly the same age, and we compared notes almost weekly when we met with Moms in Touch. There were times we laughed hysterically, and there were times we shared tears with other moms.

The Teenager

There was the day she called my husband to repair a hole in an upstairs bedroom wall. It seems that teenage son had, in a moment of anger, jammed his fist through his bedroom wall. Teenage son was not known to have fits of anger. He was not normally destructive or belligerent, but he was a football playin’ teenager with normal teenage testosterone levels, and he had opinions and plans that had been thwarted by a female – his mother. In his frustration, he let loose by punching the wall, creating the hole.

His mother didn’t yell or holler. She didn’t scold or reprimand. (Not, she assures me, that she never yelled; but this time, she didn’t.)

The Contractor

She just picked up the phone and called a contractor – my husband (and their friend) Dave. Shelley asked Dave to come to the house and fix the hole. She knew Dave would sympathize and do what she asked.

Her requirements:

  • only a new piece of Sheetrock was to be used – not a scrap piece that would have been large enough (even when Dave easily had one in his work van.
  • the bill was to be made out to said son.

Dave came home from work that day, laughing. As a parent of teenage sons himself, he understood completely. He reckoned with the purpose and rationale behind her endeavor. Even though he could have saved football playin’ testosterone teenager money by using a left-over piece of Sheet rock, he complied.

The Lesson


Shelley put the bill on her son’s bed with a note telling him he had twenty-four hours to write a check and pay the bill.

He wrote the check.

They never talked about it, and it never happened again.

It makes me wonder now what teenage son thought when he saw the bill from Dave. Obviously, he realized that Dave knew about the hole. If he refused to pay, Dave would know about that, too. I suppose it was easier to write the check to Dave than it would have been to his mother.

A Hole in One

Smart woman, his mama.

She aced that one.



Shelley and her husband lost a 17-year-old son in 2002. She wrote about her journey in the book Grief: A Mama’s Unwanted Journey. You can get information about it here. Shelley also has a blog (Grace, Grief, and Gratitude). You can  visit her blog here.


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