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heart and hands

At eight years old, my son taught me an important lesson in body language and soul-speak.

After walking home from the bus stop, he came through the door, smiling.

In quick succession, I issued a list of his moving violations.

  • You wore that shirt?
  • Don’t slouch! 
  • You forgot your homework again.

Posture adjustment.

From “Glad to be home from school – oh look, there’s my Mom!”

to “Guess I did something wrong and didn’t even know it.”

Looked like a tiny candle’s flame, fading. Flickering out. Poof!

That very day, I learned something. I felt terrible that I had made my own child feel so terrible.

Next afternoon, I started a new tradition.

Since that time and to this day, when he comes home from school, I don’t harp or hassle or harangue. I don’t carp or criticize or cauterize with my words.

Front door opens. I dance.

Flail around like a dadblamed fool.

Like a cheerleader hailing a champion.

I clap my hands and sing. “My son is home! My sooooon is hooooome. Yay! Tell me all about your day, son,” as if talking to Magellan, returning from high seas with tall tales.

Sure, he may roll his eyes at such a dramatic display of MotherLove; still, he walks slowly down the hall to his room, as if secretly appreciating being appreciated.

Teaching is a part of life for all of us, but I’ve never learned anything from being yelled at, picked on or beaten down.

My son may have been the one coming home from school, but I’m the one who learned a lesson.

Note to self: When people you love come home, make them feel at home.

Love your loved ones.

Sounds obvious, but this basic truth can get lost in translation. I’m so glad I finally listened.

childrenAs I was reading some blogs this week, I spotted yet another post about setting a good example for your children.  “Be careful what you do,” warned the blogger.  “They’re paying attention.  They are going to learn from you.  This means that if you want them to be Godly, be a good example.”

That’s true, but if all you do is lead, you may be missing an opportunity to learn.

No one was more relieved than my family when the school year ended a few weeks ago. With it we had a break from the bullying problem my son has endured throughout the school year.  Unfortunately, both boys are on the same sports teams so we only had a few days respite while the other boy was out of town.

Still, a few days in peace is a few days without conflict. We talked about the situation and prayed.  What should we do?

The day the other boy was due back, my son sat down at the breakfast table.  “I’ve really missed him as a friend. If he’s done with whatever his has been, I’m willing to be friends but just at practice at first.”

Fortunately, I had food in my mouth because my first thought was neither polite nor godly.  Really? After all the grief that child has caused?  Is that smart?  Still, if my son was willing to bury the hatchet, it was his choice. I wasn’t coming around fast but I was determined not to aggravate the situation.

After dropping him off, I ran a few errands.  Of course, because that’s how my luck runs, I ran into the other mom. I could pretend not to see her or really and truly bury the hatchet so I asked about their trip.

Would I have done this without my son’s good example?  I’d love to say that I would, but I doubt it.  Avoiding her would have been too easy.

Fortunately, when I’m too stubborn to hear the truth, God calls in the troops and send me lessons through my son. I do my best to be a good example, but I’ve also learned to pay attention when he has something godly to say.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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