I'm not sure if Utah even officially recognizes a "Mother of the Year". But if it did, I would nominate South Ogden mother Cindey Dodenbier to be considered for that honor. Read the full story of this incident in the Ogden Standard-Examiner and aired on KSL Channel 5.
Here's why. A few weeks ago, her son, 11-year-old Joe Brunton, accompanied by 12-year-old Justice Kane, went to a neighbor's house to see a female friend. Because it was early in the morning and he didn't want to wake her parents, he began to throw wood chips at the girl's window in hopes that she would hear it and respond. When this didn't work, the boys went back home, got a slingshot and starting pelting pebbles at the window.
Oops! That got her attention, and she wasn't happy. Because when the boys slingshot her window, they cracked it.
To their credit, Joe and Justice stuck around and told the girl's parents immediately, apologized and said they would make it right by replacing the window. Joe then returned home told his mom, Cindey Dodenbier, what had happened.
At this point, many mothers would have hugged their kid, given him milk and cookies, tell him it was just "part of growing up", and paid for the broken window themselves. Typical Evangelical sugar-cookie drive-by salvation. Forgiveness without repentance (Evangelicals with their cotton-candy no-penalty salvation are just as destructive to Christianity as mainstream Protestants who ordain women and queers to be pastors, in violation of scriptural directive).
But not this mom. Cindey Dobenbier told Joe, "I'm not paying for this. You take on the responsibility that parallels your action". YESSS!!!
But just as Jesus Christ doesn't leave us to twist slowly in the wind, Cindey Dobenbier didn't leave her son to twist in the wind, either. First, Dodenbier helped her son figure out the details of the neighbor's insurance and how much the window would cost. Next, to provide immediate relief to the neighbor, she paid the neighbor directly. Then she told Joe he would have to reimburse her by working off the $160 replacement cost through doing extra chores around the house.
However, Joe had more initiative. Instead of merely earning the money little by little by doing extra chores, he decided to accelerate the process by going door to door and asking the neighbors if they had anything they needed done so he could earn the money faster. Initially, he was just going to mow lawns. But then he expanded his reach - he and Justin have pulled weeds, washed windows and swept driveways. Their last stop one afternoon was at Holly and Jonathan Wright's house, where they washed their white van for $5. "I was really impressed," Holly Wright said. "They weren't trying to cut corners washing the van. I want my kids to learn from them. It's so easy to have parents take care of things, but instead they went out and did something about it. It's a good lesson in responsibility."
It looks like Justin is also participating in this effort, although the Standrd-Examiner, in a bit of sloppy reporting, doesn't make it clear. Since the two started working off the debt, they've raised $27 so far. Joe said he won't stop until he raises enough money to pay his mom back for the window he broke. And his mother is proud of him.
Commentary: What a welcome departure from the current cultural mindset, where kids are worshipped and no demands placed upon them. Considering that the boys stuck around after breaking the window and didn't run like a couple of cowards, it's obvious that both sets of parents have already inculcated a sense of personal responsibility within their boys.
Perhaps it might be a bit excessive to nominate Cindey Dodenbier as Utah's Mother of the Year. After all, when I was growing up, this was the rule rather than the exception. But by publicly recognizing this mother for raising her son properly, it might inspire even more similar behavior by a greater number of parents.
Cindey Dodenbier obviously understands the proper role of Jesus Christ. When you get into trouble, Jesus doesn't airlift you over the proverbial valley of the shadow, He walks through it with you. You get to experience the consequences of your misdeed, which is the only sure way to learn from mistakes. Cindey Dodenbier's actions reflect the influence of Jesus Christ in her life, whether or not she knows it.