Background: One word will sum this up. Parenting.
My child got in trouble at school and had an outburst in the class. If this were the end of the story, this wouldn’t even be blog worthy because all of our kids get in trouble, that’s part of being a kid. But what happened after is what disappointed me, angered me, saddened my heart.
I of course rebuke my child for his actions because they were disrespectful. I explained to him that he must learn from his mistakes and that it’s ok to have them, but it’s wrong to not learn from them and continue making the same mistake. He commences a pity party during my rebuke and says these fatal words; “I’m a failure”. Anyone that knows my child or has read our phrases of the day knows that this kid says some advanced stuff. But it is a two-edged sword that is hard to wield. I was infuriated when those words came out of his mouth. The outburst at school went out the window, all focus was now on these words that should never be used to describe anyone in our family.
We work overtime trying to strengthen and put confidence in our kids and for him to say that about himself was utterly disappointing. I was angered, disappointed and then sad. How could my strong-willed, outgoing kid say this about himself. My chastising him is necessary and should never make him feel like a failure. But had I gone too far? Was my anger about what he said interpreted as something else? I know how the mother in Proverbs 31:1-10 felt. You can hear the sadness, anger, and disappointment in these introductory words.
Proverbs 31v1-2 The words of king Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:
“Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God!
The unfortunate truth is that they will disappoint us. Sometimes in a major way. We must condition ourselves to be angry but not to sin and to show them we love them through our correction and with compassion. After getting all the pieces to the story and discussing the situation with my husband, I ended up apologizing, not for what I said, but for coming down so hard. My harsh approach discouraged him after he was already punished for his actions at school. He was probably feeling like he couldn’t win. We have to be observant enough to identify the reasons why our loved ones disappoint us. We steer our children in the right direction and live respectable lives in front of them, but in the end, they are human just like you and I. They make mistakes and not all are intentional.
Disappointments may come. Make sure they aren’t a result of unrealistic expectations or being overbearing. Above all, show compassion. The only perfect person to walk this earth was Jesus and we can’t expect anyone in our lives to reach perfection. If your loved one’s mistake directly or indirectly involved you, apologize. Forgiveness is such a hard concept for humans to learn. If we can demonstrate forgiveness to our children, it won’t be a foreign concept when they need to extend it or receive it. And finally, reiterate to them how the mistake that caused the disappointment can be avoided in the future, or teach them another way to keep it from happening. Sometimes it is necessary to change the environment or routines in order to prevent similar mistakes. But look beyond the disappointment to find a solution. The P31 is always teaching with kindness.
Reference: Proverbs 31:1-2, 26
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Awesome reminder of gentle discipline.