A little boy with a big attitude stood there in front of our bed, fidgeting with the cuff of his camouflage hoodie. A petulant look and down cast eyes the only evidence that he even had a thought for the scolding he was getting.
He had been clumsy. Again. Careless and thoughtless. Again.
I listened from the other room to my husband and my 10 year old go around and around.
“Lord, give us wisdom!” I prayed for the the hundredth time today.
“Heidi!!! Can you come in here?” called the Mr.
I sighed and wandered into my bedroom.
But can you believe G-d answered my prayer? He did?
Instead of jumping down Mr. Grouchy’s throat. Again. 🙂 I started asking him what he was feeling. This is important for the 10 year old who FEELS everything to the nth degree.
And of course, being a boy, instead of telling me what he felt, he told me what he did. And what he was doing was giving his dad his lunch because his dad hadn’t had lunch yet. But while moving too fast and not paying attention he spilled some…
Which is where he got corrected for not being careful and then was consequently scolded for having a terrible attitude.
He felt that his generous deed was glorious enough that any other behavior should be overlooked and, thusly, Dad is unfair.
Because, as we all know, in the eyes of a child Unfair is the worst possible outcome.
So we took the opportunity to talk about three completely separate circumstances. A generous act (although he wasn’t really hungry for chicken and rice soup), careless behavior and an angry heart.
In the end we agreed that he would tell us about the “feeling” in his heart and we would listen and talk about what and WHY we were doing, whatever it was that was unfair and that if he could not think clearly to share what was on his heart we would remind him since we could see that horrid, petulant look on his face which clearly showed the frustration and anger in his heart. We would provide the discipline for him if he chose not to discipline himself and make better choices.
And nobody cried.
But what really has gotten me thinking over the last few hours, what really has impacted my life in this Theology and Discipleship course called Parenting is when I said this to him and was convicted, so sweetly, at the same time.
“When you hold onto that feeling of anger in your heart toward your father you are giving the Enemy a toehold, a fingernail hold, that will work to keep you apart from the very people who love you the most on this world. That separation will keep you from hearing, from us, how precious and priceless you are. You won’t be able to remember that WE are the ones who would and DO give our lives for you, every day. And then, as you begin to believe you are completely alone, you will hear the voice of the Enemy telling you that you have no value and that nobody cares.”
*Gulp* Oh… Yes… This is just for the child’s benefit. Right?
We went on to talk about how important it is to keep talking about stuff, even if it’s ugly, just so we can make sure we all stay on the same page. Work from the same premise.
As we finished he sat up straight on the bedspread, looked us in the eye, of his own volition apologized to his dad for being careless and we, in turn, we affirmed he generous nature and thanked him for being willing to listen. He snuggled into my side, kissed me and jumped off the bed. As he ran off to build something Lego-rific I sat there amazed at the grace and compassion I had just witnessed.
I know G-d anoints us to parent our children. Don’t you doubt it for a moment. Your story will be different from mine. Your triumphs and challenge unique to your situation.
Just don’t forget that He hears us when we pray for wisdom and He gives liberally.
Without reproach. No shame!
And sometimes? We get a chance to grow up too.