Monday, August 25, 2008

On the Other Foot

The remnants of Hurricane Fay have finally made their way into our neck of the woods bringing lots of rain. This afternoon the children and I decided to go to our mall's indoor playground after school as a way to get out some pent up energy.

What started as a game of chase got a little carried away (as it tends to with 4 year old boys involved). Suddenly, I heard crying on the other side of the playground. While I recognized that it did not belong to one of my children, I was shocked to see the crying little girl's mother scowling at my R. Uh-oh!

He looked a bit remorseful and a lot guilty so I instructed him to apologize and then summoned him over to where I was sitting. After a false start with an explanation that was not true, he finally fessed up that he was sorry that he 'hurt her arm.' I am still not sure exactly what happened, but the fact of the matter is that my sweet but rambunctious boy was a playground bully in that mother and daughter's eyes. It stung. I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

I was reminded, again, that no matter how much your lecture, model, pray, instruct, reward, discipline...People still mess up. Just as I sin, so will my children. Our kids are going to make bad choices--sometimes well thought out, sometimes from getting caught up in the moment. We must handle things justly, but seasoned with grace.

And the next time my children are on the receiving end of aggression, I will certainly be a bit more understanding of how it feels to be in the other Mom's shoes.


Kim said...

We all have those moments as mamas. You show him and example of God's grace when you set those boundaries, apply consequences, and continue to love him anyway.

Kim said...

It's funny that my friend and I had a similar discussion today. As moms we are so cautious that our children not hurt anoyone or speak poorly that we sometimes hover. It's humiliating if your child does something unkind. And, our children are inherently wonderful. But, at times they will fall short and make a bad choice. Which is why they need our role modeling of how to handle with apology, forgiveness and grace. As you said, as moms to not overreact & to be graceful with one another. And, as a side note: kudos for going to the mall after school... a playdate after school must've been such a fun treat!

HW said...

Great post.

I've learned that, for me personally, it's easier, in a way, to see them be the recipient of "bullying" than to see them do the "bullying" (not that R's a bully - but for lack of a better word.) When my kids have made a wrong choice I tend to ask "oh, where have I gone wrong?" and beat myself up.

I've also learned that as they get bigger, so do their mistakes and yes mercy is the key to firm discipline.

Now, when I hear of a child who's made a bad choice - namely teenagers - the first words out of my mouth are "As a mother, I certainly know how bad his parents feel," because I know the pain that comes with watching our children be the fallible human beings that God made us all to be.

laurie said...

you handled it beautifully and with grace, and so did he!

R said...

so true! and a perspective i needed to hear.