Kindness

Adults wield power over children. We are larger and stronger and have more experience. It’s easy to forget how much they look up to us and hang on every word and every expression that flickers across our faces. Children, including teenagers that pretend they don’t know you exist, watch it all. They learn by watching our actions, and even more than by listening to our words. Have you ever heard children playing and known exactly who they were imitating?

Today, I’m watching one of my children grieve the hurt an adult has caused. My kids have been through so much just surviving our home with addiction, divorce, and strained relationships. It doesn’t insulate them from cruelties in the world, but it breaks my heart to see any of them suffer additional injuries.

I pray that we are all a little kinder than necessary, and that we give a little more grace to anyone we may be able to influence, especially children. As adults, let’s make sure we use our influence for good–to build up and encourage rather than tear down and destroy. If we all do that, we may spare another child a season of hurt, grieving and despair.

I pray that my words, actions, and attitudes have not impacted children adversely. I pray we each show more kindness, compassion, and love!

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MISTAKES

We all make mistakes. We categorize them into one of two groups: goofs, slip-ups, and white lies (mine); or BIG MISTAKES AND BIG, BAD, HORRIBLE, EVIL LIES (yours).

How do we react when others make mistakes? I tend to overreact, taking it as a personal affront, or an intentional act designed to hurt me.

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How do I want others to act when I mess up? I want them to ignore it, or laugh nonchalantly when I apologize.ostrich-head-in-sand

Those are polar opposites–I’m not doing too well with that Golden Rule thing, am I?

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How does God respond? In Matthew 23:37, Jesus laments:  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” He forgives heinous acts, and that is the example we need to follow.

I need to work on ME. When I’m not perfect (and I mess up every single day), I need to follow the 3 R’s

REVEAL my mistake,

RECTIFY the situation, through an apology or additional action, and

RESOLVE to learn and not repeat my error.

When others aren’t perfect, I need to treat them with the same compassion I hope they extend to me. Sometimes I have to call their attention to the mistake and help guide them toward better behavior, especially my children and close friends. Sometimes, I need someone to do the same for me. On other times, I have to give grace to those who

DENY their part in any problem,

DEFEND their actions, and choose to

DUPLICATE them.

My actions are NOT contingent on another’s repentance. My actions reveal my beliefs and core values. So, I choose to follow the 3 R’s: Reveal, Rectify, and Resolve when I make mistakes. 

What about you? How do handle your own mistakes? How do you treat others when they make mistakes? Is it the same whether they repent or defend their actions?