Perspective can get distorted. Because we’re humans. Even if we’re Christians (made truly alive and set free from sin through faith in the name of Jesus Christ), we are human. Anger can distort things. Pride can distort things. Distractions can distort. That’s just one reason it’s a good idea to keep your mouth shut if you’re upset. When confronted with a problem, Think before you act.
I was faced with a son whose eye was on the verge of turning black beneath a huge egg and a thin, bleeding slice.
There was a snowy day mishap. My only son sledded into a plastic playhouse. I’ve rolled down hills, flown out of swings on purpose, and climbed trees. My little brother almost broke his arm in a crash we had one time. Eventually, he did break his arm while riding bikes with me. So many things made me think, Let the kids have their experiences, but then again… Hubby thought I ought to have him sent home. When he came, there was a distorted face of my son to contend with, and his eyebrow was dipping down unnaturally.
At that moment, I paused. Thank God. Because…what I wanted to do was lose my temper and make a lot of assumptions. God the Holy Spirit (at that moment) decided to teach me how to use the advice and live by the rebuke I’d been giving the kids: What are the expectations I would want someone to have of me – if someone’s kids came to my house to play and I was just doing what I’m doing? It’s not like I sent out an invitation, but I have a welcoming home… What kind of expectations would I want someone to have of me?
I’m trying to teach the kids to be mirrors – that is, to see themselves as mirrors. That other people can have the same feelings as them, the same exact reactions, feelings, faults, troubles, behaviors, or challenges…as them (the kids.) In this case, if I’m looking back at my neighbor in the mirror, and her kids came over here, and I was focused on what I was doing – with the baby or, making dinner, or whatever…and something happened: I wouldn’t want people to expect that I just knew everything from moment to moment. Especially if no one told me…
In our case, my son didn’t tell anyone he needed attention. He claimed his face didn’t hurt that much. Maybe it didn’t. Or, maybe it did – hurt (which is an issue of its own to be prayed about and processed and dealt with separately.) From a parental or supervisory standpoint, If you peek outside, you can’t see anything but whether the kids are all still running and in working order. So God really helped me with that – not to lose it and to keep the situation in perspective.
We’d just had an end to a family visit that was traumatic. A tantrum was being thrown, and I was feeling violence inside myself. I had to realize later, thinking back on it that: There’s a certain level of violence that is called for in things, at certain times. If you have to sit someone down or, if you have to physically stop someone from tantrum-ing, these are violent actions, actually. To settle and stop things takes violence sometimes. But then, if you keep going…it becomes a row that goes beyond what you want it to be. Violence has to be the last resort, usually. Sometimes you just gotta hug your kid in a situation and let him sit down and breathe. Then disciplinary action, consequences, talking and understanding – the lesson – can come later.
Well after the tantrum conundrum came the sled disaster. And you know how sometimes it feels like there’s just a thing and a thing and another thing? I’m not being specific, but especially if you’re a parent reading this, I bet you know what I mean. And that Thing After Thing thing almost swept away my healthy perspective.
But God… How about you?