I have mentioned here on the blog that this has been a particularly challenging year socially and behaviorally for one of my boys. As with most things in life the circumstances have been multi-layered--and honestly I am still praying that God will help me get to the root of the 'real' issue. But suffice it to say, after school pick up often brings news that twinges my heart before we have even gotten out of the school parking lot.
R doesn't want to talk about his struggles much...but his siblings do. I want my children to learn to tell their own stories (and not someone else's without valid cause.) It is a slippery slope because the other two often shed light on the situation that is helpful as I sort through what is really going on.
In the meantime, I have been trying to walk the incredibly thin parental tightrope of disciplinarian/teacher and being the safe place. It is my heart's desire for 'home' to be a place of peace and rest. I want this yellow house to be our team huddle--a retreat where we can all exhale when we walk in and get loved up for whatever is waiting out in the world. And yet, a huge component of love is truth. I want to be sensitive to what their little hearts need, which is usually a mixture of encouragement AND discipline.
This afternoon instead of interrogating my boy I heard the headlines he wanted to share and asked: "If Jesus had been standing with you on the playground today, do you think He would have approved of the way you were treating your classmates?"
"No," he replied, "But He wouldn't have been very happy with some of the other kids either, Mama."
Then he paused.
"I think I need to pray and ask God to forgive me."
I agreed that it sounded like a good idea.
My day got hairy after that...Speech Therapy (graduation-woo hoo!), a flat tire (boo), Kung Fu, baseball, dinner and a furniture delivery (3 hours later than my assigned 'window.') My mind had been scattered to many other things.
Tonight as I was wrapping up bedtime R reminded me that he still needed to pray about his troubles at school. He scrunched his eyes closed for a minute or so then whispered in his serious and raspy little voice, "Do you wanna know what God and I talked about?"
"I told Him I was sorry and asked Him to forgive me and give me self control.
Then, He told me that He would forgive me.
And do you know what He said to me then, Mama?"
I shook my head no.
"God told me to stop acting like that, and I told Him I would do my best."
Again and again I am reminded that there is nothing more precious than a
humble, sincere and contrite heart.
Expecting perfection from our children (and/or ourselves) is an unrealistic expectation. Learning how to recover from failure-- how to repent, seek forgiveness and move forward--seems to be a far more useful life skill.
Here's to forgiveness and mercies that are new every morning...even in first grade.