Wednesday, October 24

On Parenting...

You know...I usually avoid the 'down' moments here.  I don't talk about what makes me sad, mad, angry, annoyed, etc.  There's plenty, but I choose not to dwell there. I choose to look at the glass as half full and I choose to share those moments with you and to record them here for my little ladies to read someday.  But...we had a situation here this weekend that I also want them to read about someday.

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On our way into town on Sunday the discussion turned to floats...as in the root beer kind.  Except I have a kid who doesn't like root beer and prefers an orange or grape soda float.  Fine.  We hadn't had floats in quite some time, so we decided that after our adventure we'd stop at the store and get the necessary ingredients so we could have floats after dinner on Sunday night.  The girls were thrilled...and quite excited!

You should know that my girls are close...they're the best of buds the majority of the time.  They are very different people, but they love each other dearly and will quite fiercely defend one another if the occasion arises.  They drive me bonkers, make me laugh and fill me with pride.  One of them is more hot-headed than the other...she angers quickly and recovers quickly.  The other is much more contemplative.  When she's mad she's mad for a bit longer and it's a bit more personal.  This weekend the quick-to-anger sister was tired and in her state of tired frustration lashed out in a most inappropriate and unacceptable way.  She was removed from the situation quickly and after some time to cool off and think it through a consequence for her behavior was agreed upon.

Now let's stop here and think about that old line parents use in books and movies, "This will hurt me more than it will hurt you!"  Often it refers to a more physical punishment but the line came immediately to mind as we went about our evening.  The consequence that was agreed upon for the aforementioned offense was the loss of the much anticipated float.  There were lots of tears.  It was a good consequence...it hit where it needed to and elicited true remorse from the offender.  And that's where the hard part for me came in.  I *know* that once we hand down a consequence or punishment we have to stick with it.  We have plenty of experience in that department!  But I found two things interesting...the first was how quickly I felt like my heart had been stomped on for her.  So much empathy and so quickly.  The compassionate mama in me wanted to shield her from the sadness of losing that much anticipated thing.  In some ways I think it may have hurt me every bit as much as it hurt her!

The second thing that struck me was just how deep that sisterly love goes.  After learning that her sister would not be able to have a float that night, the other sister quickly forfeited hers as well.  Later she approached me and asked if maybe they could have floats the next night and I was awestruck.  She had given up this much-wanted thing without even knowing if she would have a second chance, even though she had done no wrong.  Sisterly love.  I cried!

Now granted, 20 years from now it will not matter if they had floats on Sunday night or Monday night, but today it mattered.  Today, in the throes of childhood, someone made a mistake and someone else graciously made that mistake a little less painful.

What if we all did that for someone?

What if we all chose kindness?

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