Mom and dad were very happy to have their child and spouse move in with them for a time. They even gave up their master bedroom so they could feel like they were in their own little apartment. The other two adult children had moved back in as well, already, and one needed some special care, while recovering from a temporary health condition. Dad was deployed a lot, so this arrangement was sure to be helpful to mom, while dad was away so much, especially.
As the couple moved into the large bedroom, dad explained the portable air conditioning units worked together to cool the whole house in the hot summer days. He recommended they keep the large unit in their master bedroom, so that it would at least keep them cool on those hot days. They absolutely wanted it out.
Dad said he would remove it, but told them to be sure because once they do that, it’s not coming back. Once hot days come, they must keep their bedroom door closed because the other two units could not cool the whole house and the huge master bedroom. If they leave their door open on hot days, the rest of the house will cook because those other two remaining units won’t keep up. Everyone will suffer because of their lack of forethought. They still insisted they would be fine, despite the father imploring them not to cause themselves and others unnecessary suffering.
The heat certainly came recently, reaching over a 100 degrees multiple days in our wonderful paradise in the Pacific Northwest. Dad came home, during that heat wave, to a house 80 degrees downstairs and 85 upstairs. The fans only blew the hot air around. The two remaining air conditioning units could not cool the whole house because the couple who insisted they would be fine couldn’t handle the heat, either. They opened their bedroom door, causing the whole house to turn into an oven. It happened just as dad warned, and everyone in the house was miserable.
There were others in our area who certainly had it worse. I know of one particular housing facility where around 300 of the inhabitants endured days of up to 95 degrees inside because it was 107 outside.
Air conditioners were sold out, quickly. Unless you already had adequate air conditioning, you were likely miserable as well. It certainly was dangerously hot. It was hard to work, sleep and live. We are simply not used to that kind of heat in Western Washington.
There’s a lesson here for sure – probably a few.
For one, ignoring wisdom is certainly foolish. It comes with consequences. In the case of this young couple, their lack of forethought and choice of not listening to wisdom caused them to suffer and others they loved, as well. Everyone else in that home was prepared with adequate air conditioning, but since the couple was not, they made themselves and others miserable. Foolishness. Pure foolishness.
Another thing, parents should consider the consequences of letting their adult children make choices in their home which impacts everyone in the home. How about saying, “No,” when it’s smart to do so? If the parents, namely the dad, would have simply said, “No, we have to have that air conditioning unit in place in order to keep the whole house cool, and we will need to keep the whole house cool,” they would have been comfortable. The dad could have been a little more assertive, since he knew he was right and it would have benefited everyone.
Also, the people who ran out, trying to find air conditioners after the heat already came, could have had some foresight of their own. If your house doesn’t cool well in mildly hot weather, it will definitely be more miserable in extremely hot weather. Don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Showing up late to the party like that often adds to one’s own and others’ misery.
“Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” King Solomon, Proverbs 1:8-9, ESV
Pastor Jeff Adams is a longtime community leader, victim advocate and chaplain. He ministers internationally, nationally and locally. His column appears online weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.