Saturday, May 1, 2010


"We all know what it is to "see the wind."  You begin a new adventure full of hope.  Maybe it's a new job; maybe you're testing an area of spiritual giftedness; maybe you're trying to serve God in a new way.  At the beginning you are full of faith - it's blue skies.  Then reality sets in.  Setbacks.  Opposition.  Unexpected obstacles.  You see the wind.  It should be expected - the world's a pretty stormy place - but somehow trouble still has the power to catch us by surprise."  - If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg.

After weeks of random moodiness and unexpected snarky behavior, it all came to a head yesterday as I heard the words "I just don't like him."  They knocked the breath out of me.  Literally.  All I could say was, "I see."  With that, I walked out of the room.  Shocked.  Defeated.  Hopeless.  Furious.

In that moment, my heart was screaming.  The person who said this is not my child, but the "him" being referred to is.  I was hurt, offended and outraged.  I just kept thinking...  The nerve of this little person to talk to me about my child that way!  Especially since my son adores this little friend and the friend rejects him daily.  Not the other way around.  He adores, the friend rejects.

Negativity coursed through my brain...  My dreams of ever fostering or adopting were dashed.  If my mother bear instincts kick in like this with a darling little friend, what kind of bear (monster?) would I be if a really difficult child with significant needs rubbed me the wrong way?  There's no way I could ever be competent, forgiving, loving or patient enough to foster or adopt a child with extra special needs or behavioral issues. 

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I was hurt for about an hour.  During that time, I came to realize a lot of simple, obvious truths regarding this situation.
  • My own children are moody and snarky too.
  • My own children have announced their hatred for one another, only to become best friends again within an hour.
  • It is unfair to everyone involved when I correct all of the children equally; however, only provide consequences for my kids.
  • Establishing a relationship before establishing ground rules and consequences was not my brightest plan.
  • Kids are not born knowing how to be good friends.
  • Patience is a fruit of the spirit, not something we're born with.
So...  We had a little wind damage, but we're working on the repairs.  I'm not getting back into my boat and rowing away from this occasionally stormy situation. 

"Water walkers expect problems." - John Ortberg.

Still trusting God and preparing to be surprised by his trustworthiness.


Jenny said...

Ugh, it is sooo hard being a parent. I see this one little punk being mean to Ryan at recess and it is all I can do not to corner him in the bathroom and tell him what I think about him and his behavior but I have to pretend like I am just any other parent and can't fly off the handle like that. Truth be told, it really doesn't bother Ryan and I need to teach him how to deal with people like this instead of doing it for him.
I am sure Zach is even more resilient than you realize. Hang in there!

The one girl said...

It is actually Luke that the friend has trouble with. He's only 3 and the friend is Zach's age. The friend is annoyed by his tantrums and doesn't like to share with him, while Luke LOVES the friend and is a little shadow.

The failure has been all mine when the friend is at our house. I haven't wanted to hurt the friend, so I've corrected but not given any consequence to meanness. And... There is a natural consequence for those who are mean to their friends -- they don't have any. Time outs are in order and need to be lovingly given --- while I extend grace and forgiveness as the friend learns. They are just children and I know that "I just don't like him" was a complete overstatement.