Sunday, November 7, 2010

not for the timid

What I wanted to say:

"Lady, your punk second grader punched my sweet little kindergartener on the bus today.  I took care of business and got in his face and told him to keep his filthy hands to himself.  If he so much as breathes on my son again I will personally show him what it feels like to be punched by someone bigger than him!!!"

What I really said:

"Hi Jane.  This is Laurie from down the street.  How are you?  I just wanted to take a second of your time to let you know that James punched my six year old Rufus in the back while on the bus ride today.  Oh, yes he is fine, no lasting injuries.  I spoke to James at the bus stop and told him that what he did is not okay and he needs to keep his hands to himself and treat others like he wants to be treated... so I was hoping that you could reinforce that at home."

I'm really learning that it takes guts to make people, both children and their parents, accountable for their behavior.  It would have been easier to comfort Rufus and talk to only him about how wrong the boy on the bus was.  It would have been much more simple for me to give him a hug and tell Rufus that he should simply learn from others how NOT to behave.

I hate conflict.  I try to run from it.  It gives me a 20 pound weight in my stomach, shaky appendages, and occasionally shingles.  But I (thanks to my husband's support and encouragement) am not going to let life happen to my boys.

I don't mean that I'm going to protect them from all harm.  I'm not going to drive Rufus to school every day because he got punched on the bus.

But, I can't teach them that they are accountable for their behavior and not hold others accountable for theirs.  It wasn't comfortable for me to call this little boy's mom and tell her what her son did.  But I think the phone call accomplished two things:

1.  My kids know I'm on their side and I will do the tough stuff for them.  If they need me, I'm there.

2.  They know that accountability is consistent.  They are accountable for their behavior because their parents will follow through.

Lastly, this book made a lasting impression on me that it all needs to be done in love.  Rather than avoiding this boy and labeling him as a troublemaker, I made a point of telling him and his mom that we really want to develop a friendship with him and have him over to play.

There are reasons in his life why he did what he did, and the truth is that he needs kids to see the good in him.  He needs adults to shower him with love and attention and invest in him.

And even though I really wanted to throttle him I plan to do just that.

3 comments:

  1. Way to go - SuperMom! That is something I definitely would not be good at - talking to another mom about their unruly child. Keep lovin' him!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another reason I adore you! You're courageous and gracious, it would've been so easy to take the easy way out like avoidance (high on my list), but you go mama!! I'm so inspired. Love you girl!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh man, that is so hard. It's a similar struggle that I had when I had to give grace to the neighbor who gave our kids lice, but denied they ever had it. :( What I wanted to do was start listing off all the evidence and testimony by others that proved otherwise. But I truly believe God has placed her daughter in our lives so I have to put aside my own sinful reactions!! It's hard!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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